US utility CPS Energy started a four-year smart meter rollout this week as part of a US$290 million upgrade to electricity and gas customers within its service area.

The energy company based in San Antonio, Texas, will install a total of 740,000 new Landis+Gyr electric meters, and add a smart module to roughly 340,000 existing gas meters.

A communication on the CPS Energy website said that “starting in 2015, energy use data will also be available to you, the customer, through a secure online web page that will let you see and track your use as recently as the previous day. And that puts the power — cough cough, pun intended — in your hands”.

Engaging customers

Customers received a letter a month before the rollout with a detailed description of the 15-minute smart meter installation. As part of its communication strategy with customers, CPS Energy created a video of a typical smart meter installation.

Installation has begun in four areas of San Antonio with suburban cities receiving upgrades by 2018.

CPS Energy is not charging for smart meter installation but customers who opt out of the programme will have US$20 per month added to their bill to cover meter reading costs.