More than 90 percent of the meters in the deregulated Texas power market, which covers most of the state, now have “smart” capabilities, according to the PUC. The meters have replaced analog meters that could be read manually each month.

The cost of the smart-meter project is around $2.5 billion so far, financed by years of charges ($2 or $3 per month) on most Texans’ power bills.

Smart meters allow Texans to switch power providers quickly, said Trip Doggett, chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state grid.

They cut the need for meter readers and allow utilities to pinpoint outages more quickly. Since the spring, Oncor, a Dallas-based utility, has responded to more than 2,500 outages without customers even reporting the problem, according to Catherine Cuellar, a spokeswoman for the utility. Oncor has also slashed its cost to connect service to $3.20 from about $15 under the old meters, according to the PUC.

For more on Texans’ attitudes towards the smart meters visit texastribune.org.