Southern California Gas Co.’s plan to fully deploy a network of upgraded gas meters faces hurdles in some parts of Orange County as local officials assert they have the authority to approve where pole-mounted wireless transmitting units should go and how they should look, the Register has learned. Municipalities including Laguna Beach and Newport Beach have been involved in lengthy talks with SoCalGas over the setup of poles and antennas that collect data from “advanced” meters at homes and most businesses and send the data to the gas company. Cities across Southern California are in various stages of shifting to the advanced meter networks, which eventually are expected to eliminate the need for human meter readers. SoCalGas is still in the process of obtaining permits to install network units in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. Buena Park has had the technology since late 2012. The network also has been set up in Irvine, but some recent installations were needed to fill gaps in the coverage. The systems in Seal Beach and Huntington Beach are works in progress. The local permitting challenges are the latest bump to emerge in the gas company’s massive effort to upgrade millions of old analog meters and phase out the process of sending workers through neighborhoods to read the units manually. Over the last six years, SoCalGas personnel assigned to meter reading have been reduced from more than 1,000 to about 70, company figures show.