The city’s gas utility is implementing new smart gas meters throughout Long Beach and Signal Hill that will enable more efficient natural gas usage and also eliminate thousands of monthly meter reader visits to homes and businesses, the City of Long Beach announced Thursday.
“The City of Long Beach is proud to champion a program that uses innovative technology to help our customers and our Gas Department become more efficient and environmentally responsible,” stated Mayor Robert Garcia.
The new smart gas meters communicate consumption data directly to the city, providing the Long Beach Gas & Oil Department with more accurate meter readings in a faster fashion. Officials will be automatically alerted to a gas leak or other suspected problems, while the new system will also allow customers to start or stop gas service in real time when they move in or out of a home or business.
Reducing meter reading gives customers more privacy and lowers greenhouse gas emissions and congestion associated with thousands of vehicle trips, according to the release.
“We are dedicated to providing our customers with state-of-the-art technology to continue to achieve excellence in customer service,” said Edward Farrell, Acting Director of Long Beach Gas & Oil, in a statement. “By modernizing our metering infrastructure, we are aligning ourselves with industry best practices and realizing the benefits of a 21st Century utility.”
Starting February 1 through early 2018, the gas meters of all residential and business utility customers in Long Beach and Signal Hill will have their gas meters upgraded, with no action required on their part. Either the current meter will be replaced or a small remote-reading device will be installed on the existing meter, causing no interruption in gas service, according to the release. A courtesy notice will be sent to each customer in the mail in advance of having their meter upgraded.
The City of Long Beach Gas & Oil representatives and the City’s meter installation contractor, Utility Partners of America (UPA), will facilitate the meter conversion process. Approximately 30 Long Beach residents have been hired to install the smart meters and are required to carry a valid identification badge, be in uniform and have the company logo on the vehicle.
Between June and October of last year, the city completed a pilot project of converting more than 1,000 gas meters to smart meters. According to the city, the new meters are communicating properly with Long Beach’s meter-reading and billing systems.
Soon after the new smart meters begin tracking usage, the utility will provide customers with new online tools to help customers monitor and modify their usage, become more efficient natural gas users and also save money in the process.