"The only time we know you have electricity is when we go to read your meter once a month, or you call us and say 'Hey, I don't have electricity,'" said Chris Sims with LP&L.
One big benefit, for both customers and LP&L, is the readings would be sent electronically back to LP&L, meaning meter readers wouldn't have to go out to check the meters each month. Sims said those employees would not lose their jobs if this change goes into effect, rather they would be moved into other departments and have their job description change.
Sims said LP&L reads 181,400 meters a month between water and electric meters.
For now, when electricity goes out, either because of a storm or a blown fuse, LP&L meter readers would have to head out to find where the outage is by actually checking the meters outside.
"We literally drive down the alleys looking for a blown fuse, or a line down, and that's not too complicated except in the middle of a storm or at night," said Sims.
These 'smart', or advanced, meters are already used in other parts of the state and would help with response time to outages.
"Increase our response time on an outage tremendously, by letting the meters communicate back to us," said Sims.
Another benefit for consumers include a customer being able to see their readings sooner, instead of waiting until the next months bill.
"A customer who is maybe buying some energy star appliances, spending some money to lower their electric bill, and they don't really know if it's working til the next month, and maybe they might see it," said Sims.
Sims said there may not be the $100-plus hook up fees, because then meter readers don't have to go out to re-hook each meter.
Dirty meters would also not matter, because no meter reader would have to look and try to see through dirt, because all the results would be sent to LP&L electronically.
According to Sims, no decision has been made yet, but the Electric Utility Board keeps discussing the idea each month. One major bump is the cost of changing the meters, which would cost millions of dollars to replace the old ones.
Sims also said the cost of the new meters, if Lubbock ever changes, could possibly be absorbed in fees for the customer, as is done in other part of the state.