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Xcel Energy plans to install 'smart' meters in the coming years

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Posted at 7:50 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 15:37:26-05

DENVER -- When's the last time you looked at your electrical meter?

Xcel Energy wants to replace mechanical meters with advanced, electronic "smart" meters that track what time of day people use power the most, can help determine the size and scoop of a power outage and can adjust the voltage being sent to neighborhoods based on need.

"[These meters] can communicate back and forth and allow us adjust the voltage. By doing that, it saves power for everybody. It saves power for the whole system," Matthew Parsell, the Manager of Projects for Xcel Energy said.

Users will be able to track their usage.

"It will tell you how much you've used, compared to how much you used last week, last month," explained Parsell.

Some groups, including AARP, are against the measure, arguing that the technology is expensive and unreliable.

"I just don’t think we should spend $562 million on technology they claim is going to last 20 years, when technology is changing in a way we can’t even predict," said Bill Levis, an AARP volunteer advocate.

The $562 million project is up for a hearing Tuesday before the Public Utilities Commission.

If Xcel Energy wins approval for the project, customers could start seeing the installation of the new smart meters in 2019 to 2021.

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