ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Smart meters are the future, and RG&E says over the next two and a half years, they’ll be installing 700,000 of them in and around Rochester.

Wednesday night in Gates, RG&E customers were invited to ask questions and take a look at how this new technology will work.

News 8 asked the president of the utility to answer some questions. Patricia Nilsen listed a series of benefits.  She says it cuts the need to have a utility worker read a meter in person, eliminates the practice of estimating gas and electric usage, and in a storm, she says the smart meters will automatically let RG&E know when customers are without power.

Nilsen also explained why these meters will save money for utility customers.

“You know that old argument that everyone has in their household about ‘Turn off that light!’ Now with the smart meter, you can actually see the kilowatt-hour usage,” Nilsen said. “If you’re making decisions about turning your heat down. If you have gas or electric heat, you’re going to see that difference. If you turn that thermostat down if you lower the air conditioning temperature in your house.”

Nilsen says when the meters are installed, workers will be wearing the proper identification and they’ll announce themselves when they’re on your property.  

Another open house will be held Thursday night at the Irondequoit Public Library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.