Pacific Gas & Electric is the first utility to deploy smart meters in the state and is struggling to keep on top of the fast-changing advanced metering industry. \u201cPG&E made a huge bet on the infrastructure for 10 million meters, and the industry has changed substantially since its original evaluation\u201d three and a half years ago, said Jana Corey, PG&E director of energy technology during a September 20 Advanced Metering Infrastructure workshop sponsored by state regulators. She applauded the California Public Utilities Commission for requiring the utility to closely monitor the smart metering business when it approved PG&E\u2019s use of $1.73 billion of ratepayer funds for the program. Some of the advanced metering technology PG&E planned to deploy is now dated. For example, the price of what are known as solid state meters has dropped, making them competitive with the tried-and-true electro-magnetic meters. PG&E will likely request approval from the CPUC to install solid state meters because only they are compatible with the latest smart metering technology the utility is considering. The cost of the expected change won\u2019t be known until a vendor is chosen, and the meters are tested with the new applications. The CPUC approved PG&E\u2019s smart metering plan July 20, 2006. Then it was advertised as producing significant demand response and operations\u2019 savings over its 20-year life. Smart meters for electric and gas customers are expected to perform a variety of functions, from automated meter reading and shutoffs, as well as allow timely and more precise collection of peak load data. The big challenge for PG&E, and the state\u2019s other investor-owned utilities, was deciding when to launch because of the constantly evolving technology and new applications, according to industry representatives. San Diego Gas & Electric began investing in an advanced metering program shortly after PG&E. Southern California Edison initially balked at the cost of a smart metering program but months later jumped on the smart metering bandwagon. PG&E began installing advanced meters in Bakersfield early this year and has installed 109,000 gas and electric devices, according to Paul Moreno, PG&E spokesperson. An ongoing problem with the three investor-owned utilities\u2019 advanced metering programs is that they are not compatible. As one participant noted at the workshop, advanced metering software used in the home should work in different areas, and as smoothly as plug in vacuum cleaners do in San Diego, San Bernardino and\/or San Francisco. The lack of common industry standards, like the lack of a common plug for vacuums, also plagues the smart meter programs. In addition, PG&E uses a propriety computer system. Not using \u201copen architecture\u201d can be costly. For instance the California Independent System Operator, when it was formed in the 1990s, installed proprietary computer systems that almost immediately had to be tossed and replaced with off-the-shelf technology. One potentially lucrative application of advanced metering is the ability to connect with electric vehicles that could fuel the grid. \u201cThere is all this capacity driving around your service territory,\u201d Corey said. At a low carbon fuels workshop at the California Air Resources Board September 13, auto experts said large-scale deployment of electric cars with vehicle to grid (V2G) technology that can plug into the distribution system is expected over the next decade. That is largely due to the push for cleaner fuels. The energy stored in car batteries during low demand hours can be sucked back into the grid during higher demand hours. The governor executed an order that requires the sale of transportation fuels that produce 10 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline to spur the alternative fuels market in the state.