HOLLYWOOD HILLS — Advanced gas meters are headed towards homes in the Southland, indicated Southern California Gas Company on January 29.


These advanced meters are a way to bring down costs and make it easier for customers to deal with their billing and gas usage, states the company on their website.


They are placed over existing analog meters, and they communicate with the customer service and billing center. From there, customers can observe their own hourly and daily usages online though their online billing accounts. SoCalGas assures customers that the device cannot communicate with other devices, nor can they shut off your gas remotely. They only turn on for a few seconds a day to communicate with the company, and SoCalGas notes that the meters only turn on for a combined total of 2 minutes per year. The batteries that power the devices have a running lifespan of 20 years, and, should they go out, they are replaced at the expense of the company.


The meters are meant for both residential and business customers, and SoCalGas hopes to have all their customers with an advanced meter by 2017. Customers, however, can opt out of the program if they wish, though they may incur “incremental fees” unless they decide to go with an advanced meter. The company further notes that this option is open only to residential customers.


SoCalGas hopes that the meters will eventually remove over 1,000 service vehicles from the road, thereby reportedly reducing carbon emissions by 140,000 tons each year. As for the current meter readers, they are being employed to install the devices, but they will be given the option to apply for new jobs within the company before those positions are made redundant.


Customers are encouraged to register or log into their online billing accounts to use the new features once they have an advanced meter installed. If they receive an advanced meter installation letter, they can call 877-268-6211 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays to schedule an appointment. To opt out of the program, customers can call 800-427-2200 to be placed on a deferral list.