The ESB is preparing to start a €1.2bn national roll-out of smart meters to businesses and households, beginning in parts of Cork and the greater Portlaoise area.
20,000 smart electricity meters will be rolled out to households in the Midlands and South by the end of the year.
The upgrade programme by ESB Networks will begin in September in areas around Portloaise.
The initial rollout will be followed by 250,000 home installations by the end of 2020 and a further half a million each year between 2021 and 2024.
Eoghan Barrett of ESB Networks says the new meters will help the country reduce carbon emissions and help households save money.
The company will be writing to householders and businesses from July 15 informing that they have been chosen for the meter upgrade.
The properties selected will be primarily those with older meters and there will be no upfront charge to customers for the upgrade.
Each meter will take on average 45 minutes to install and will provide ESB networks with up to date information on usage and this roll-out follows eight years of research.
The project is part of the government’s strategy to save energy and in few years, customers will be able to avail of tariffs which will reduce their bills if they use more electricity outside of current peak hours, which are 5pm-7pm.
It will also allow people with small solar panels and wind turbines to “export” any excess energy they produce to the company and the meters will also be able to inform the ESB of supply faults.
The meters will provide real-time information to customers and ESB Networks, which means that householders and businesses will know exactly what they are spending, rather than having to wait for meter-readers to call to them four times a year for billing purposes.
It will also make it easier for a customer to change supplier as suppliers will have access to their data at a push of a button and the ESB says this will enhance competition.
It’s expected that more than 700 million smart meters will be installed around the world by energy companies by the end of next year.
The installation of the meters in the Cork and Portlaoise areas should be completed by the end of December.