By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma – Whether it's winter storms or the extreme hot and cold temperatures Oklahoma experiences, Oklahomans have become all too accustomed to electrical outages and high electrical bills.

But OG&E says they have a solution to both problems in a high-tech device.

Smart power came to Norman Monday in the form of smart meters. By the end of May, 42,000 of the smart meters will be in place in Norman.

"It uses a wireless network to communicate to the, to our system so that we'll know immediately when somebody is without power," Karen Kurtz with OG&E said.

The meters will let OG&E know almost immediately where to send crews--and whether the outage is isolated or widespread.

Pam and Gary Clinton's home was the first Norman residence to get the smart meter Monday morning.

"We haven't had any problems notifying them, but if we were out of town or something and lost our power it would be nice that it would automatically notify them," Pam Clinton said.

The smart meters have another advantage. When paired with some additional software, they allow customers to program their thermostats--and monitor their power usage.

Recently OG&E conducted a power usage experiment using the smart meters and the software in northwest Oklahoma City. Out of 25 households, 24 reported energy savings of 10 to 12 percent.

"I think our electric bills probably average around $200 a month," said Gary Clinton. "But, if we can save on some energy we're certainly willing to do that." 

Smart meters are the wave of the future. But they will spell the end of the individual meter reader visiting your back yard.

"Meter reading is a very dangerous position with dogs and other factors as well, so people won't see them climbing their fences quite as much," Kurtz said.

Over the next three to five years, OG&E will spend $300 million installing the smart meters system-wide.

Learn more about the meters tonight on NEWS 9 at 5 p.m.