Xcel Energy is installing“smart meters” that will charge more for electricity used during peak periods

All 1.6 million Xcel Energy customers in Colorado will transition to time-of-use billing, which is intended to encourage people to reduce consumption during certain times of day.

Mark Jaffe
The Colorado Sun
The first of Xcel’s “smart meters” is installed on Wednesday, June 30 at a residence in Littleton. The new meters read household energy use in real-time, designed to give customers more accurate reads. Almost all 1.6 million Xcel Colorado customers will have smart meters by the end of 2023.
Olivia Sun / The Colorado Sun

LITTLETON — It took Xcel Energy project manager Wade Cruser a little less than three minutes to pop the old electric meter off the side of a Littleton home and slap on the future of electricity use and billing for utility’s Colorado customers — a “smart meter.”

These meters read household energy use in real-time and report it back to Xcel. They will give customers a clearer and more precise picture of their energy use and enable Xcel to implement time-of-use rates, charging more at peak demand times and less during low-use periods.

Xcel crews will be installing meters at about 15,000 homes and businesses a week, starting in Denver, Aurora and the surrounding suburbs, with 395,000 slated to be in place by the end of the year. Almost all 1.6 million Colorado customers will have smart meters by the end of 2023.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission gave Xcel a green light to spend up to $419 million to install the devices, known as advance installation meters, or AIM.The cost will be passed on to customers.

The real-time readouts will give a household a better handle on when and how much energy they use, said Xcel Energy-Colorado President Alice Jackson. “It will give more transparency, more control.” It will also tell Xcel how well the grid is operating. “We will know when there is an outage without a call from a customer,” Jackson said.

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