If you have a three foot circle of land that you don't need, the Gas Co. might pay at least $2,000 to put a pole there. The site needs to meet various criteria, and just any location may not work. Mounted on the pole would be a A/C or solar powered Data Collection Unit, 25"x15.5"x9" weighing up to 80 lbs.
The Southern California Gas Co. is looking to install a dozen or more Data Collection Units in Calabasas and in Agoura Hills as part of the rollout of its $3 billion advanced meter system upgrade.
The DCUs pick up signals from small communications devices that will be attached to existing meters. The units then transmit the data to a central gas company hub.
When asked if there is any harmful radio wave or other environmental concerns, a representative said that the Utility Company "has all the answers to those types of questions".
The system, which was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, allows the utility to remotely monitor gas usage and provide that information to customers. It eliminates the need for meter readers to drive around Southern California, which will reduce the utility’s carbon footprint.
When the entire system is operational, the communications devices will power on for a fraction of a second each day and send gas usage information to the units. They will not enable the utility to shut off gas or respond remotely in the event of a leak.
“It’s much different than ‘smart meters’,” the representative said, referring to meters used by electricity providers that allow them to turn power on and off.
The cost of the entire system is being absorbed by the gas company’s ratepayers, but utility officials estimate that the investment may yield operating and environmental benefits of more than $3.5 billion, which will be passed on to customers over the life of the project.
The utility estimates the advanced meters will take 1,000 Southern California Gas vehicles off the road every day. That will eliminate 6.3 million vehicle miles and approximately 140,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year.