Southern California Edison plans to begin installing smart meters in Kern County and other parts of the San Joaquin Valley starting this month, the Rosemead-based utility announced Thursday.

The meters, part of federal efforts to make the nation's power grid more responsive and efficient, remotely transmit energy consumption data. They give customers detailed online information on their energy use patterns, and are necessary for advanced rate programs that could save consumers money on their bills.

SCE's rollout of the technology, which began in Los Angeles County in 2009, follows San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s introduction of similar devices in Bakersfield in 2006. That effort was marked by technical glitches, a costly upgrade, state-ordered opt-out provisions (also available to SCE customers) and a consumer backlash that SCE and others in the industry have said informed their own approach to smart meters.

"Over the past several years, we have focused on developing an industry leading smart meter program, including extensive testing of our smart meters and associated systems to ensure their quality and performance," Ken Devore, director of SCE's Edison SmartConnect program, wrote in a news release.

For information, go online at

The Kern Leaders Academy has announced its class of 2012. Participants for the fourth academy class were selected from various Kern County businesses and associations. Class fellows are:

* Derek C. Abbott, director of land and resource planning for Tejon Ranch Co.;

* Athena Collup, Realtor at Watson Realty;

* Brandon J. Hawkins of Stockdale Podiatry Group;

* Marcus Johnson, operations manager for Starstruck Entertainment Services, LLC;

* Anna Laven, research associate for Transforming Local Communities;

* Anna Leon, community outreach coordinator for the Kern River Valley Healthcare District;

* Tomeka Powell, analyst for the Community Action Partnership;

* and Ryan Shultz, political consultant.

The Kern Leaders Academy is a county-wide, community leadership program whose purpose is to "assist in the development of visionary community leaders who recognize that a healthy business climate is necessary for a strong economy, and a strong economy is necessary for a vibrant community," according to the academy.

For more information about the program, visit

The Bureau of Land Management is requesting nominations for the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee. The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, and is an area culturally important to Native Americans.

The 10-member committee advises the Bureau of Land Management on resource management issues at the monument, which sits on the border between San Luis Obispo and Kern counties.

For information, call (661) 391-6000.

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce will hold a celebration in honor of retiring chamber executive director Debra Moreno at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St.

Cost is $30 and includes hors d'oeuvres and a no host bar. For information or to RSVP, call (661) 327-4421.