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    Many Texas residents have had their utility company add a smart meter to their homes, but most of them still have yet to take advantage of this technology to help control their electricity bills, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    Smart meters allow customers to monitor their electricity usage in 15-minute increments, even breaking down the bill by the devices they are using. These new meters allow utilities to monitor usage more closely and detect outages directly, but they also hoped residents would use them to lower electricity bills, cutting down demand on already strained power lines.

    But in the North Texas service area of utility company Oncor only 14,000 homeowners have asked for access to their information, out of 3 million installed smart meters.

    While reducing electricity usage is definitely a major advantage of these smart meters, one often overlooked benefit is that many retail electricity providers offer special electricity rates that can help customers cut down on costs even more. So-called time-of-day rates offer even lower electricity prices at night and on the weekends, when demand is low, helping save on some costs people really cannot avoid.