/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southern Company announced today that it has installed 1 million Smart Meters, achieving a milestone in an advanced electricity metering program that will eventually see 4.4 million meters in place for its customers across the Southeast.
The program - which integrates advanced metering, communications and other innovative technologies to provide superior customer service at reduced operating costs - is producing direct benefits for the customer, the environment and the company while positioning the company to employ additional features of the technology in the future.
The initiative began in January 2008 and will deploy Smart Meters for customers of Southern Company's electric utility subsidiaries Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power. The company is installing about 4,500 meters each day.
In addition to reducing operating costs that can help keep rates lower for customers, the company expects the program to lessen environmental impact. Southern Company, for example, expects to reduce the vehicle fleet used for meter reading by at least 500, saving 12.5 million miles of driving annually and producing direct benefits in lower vehicle emissions.
Once fully deployed, the Smart Meter program may also allow customers to manage energy consumption, helping them to be more efficient by providing detailed energy usage information and innovative rate options.
"Southern Company continues to be an industry leader in adopting technology that benefits customers while reducing environmental impact," said Southern Company CEO David Ratcliffe. "The company's progress in the Smart Meter program underscores our commitment to customer service and environmental responsibility."
Installing Smart Meters throughout Southern Company's territory lays the groundwork for many potential technology opportunities and benefits in the future as well. Those include:
-- Innovative billing and rate options
-- Remote programmability of meters
-- Power quality monitoring
-- Prepaid power options
Southern Company's program is based on the Sensus FlexNet(R) Advanced Metering Infrastructure network, which uses advanced technology that allows for a range of features, including meter reading for monthly billing, two-way communication between customers and the company, outage detection, and remote reconnects and disconnects.
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