Xcel Energy is planning to exchange current electric meters with new smart meters to bring more efficient energy.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has approved to proceed with hearings to approve these meters.

The company says the new meters are the next level of the energy grid.

Many other areas are also already using these smart systems, the Texas Public Utilities Commission says they believe it will be a good asset for the Panhandle.

By improving the grid, Xcel says there will be many benefits.

Outages will be easier to identify with the new technology pinpointing where there is an outage and then crews can be dispatched to those specific locations.

Restoration times will be improved, Grid operators will be able to get real-time information, and will save customers money.

The new meter would cost the average residential customer $2.17 more a month.

Story by Chuck Williams