California regulators provided an option to smart meters — both gas and electric — for San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) customers last Thursday, mirroring action take earlier in the year by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) (see Daily GPI, Feb. 2). SCE customers who don’t want an advanced digital meter can keep their current meter or one that was at their location prior to the installation of a wireless smart meter. Similarly, SDG&E customers who do not want a smart gas or electric meter can choose to have the analog meters. SCE said it supported the decision by state regulators and will “respond quickly to customers choosing to opt out.” Separately, one of the state’s two large public sector utilities, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, said it has nearly completed the installation of 600,000 smart meters and an automated electric metering infrastructure.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), which boasts one of the greenest fleets in the nation, including 1,100 natural gas-fueled vehicles, will help open a new clean-energy focused utility truck manufacturing plant in Northern California on Tuesday. An order by PG&E for nearly 300 specially equipped electric bucket trucks has allowed the truck body/equipment manufacturer Altec to build its new facility in Dixon, CA, creating more than 150 new jobs in a state that has struggled with high unemployment. Altec has developed a series of batteries and high-output alternators to eliminate the need for engine idling for crews operating the bucket and other onboard equipment, a PG&E spokesperson said. Altec makes the utility equipment that is fitted on various truck manufacturers’ chassis. For PG&E, this approach saved more than $700,000 in annual fuel costs last year, said the combination utility that operates more than 3,100 clean fuel vehicles in its fleet.

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