According to the Wall Street Journal, Landis+Gyr Holdings Pty Ltd. will provide smart meters to Dallas-based Oncor Electric Delivery Co. Oncor will install the meters in 3 million homes and small businesses. The utility plans to provide in-home display monitors to all low-income consumers to let them track their power use and costs.

The displays will assist “the low-income consumers stay within their budgets, so they can manage their costs better” and prevent unexpected bill increases, according to Chris Schein, Oncor spokesman. The meters will wirelessly send readings on electricity use back to the utility.

A new Deutsche Bank analyst estimates that, by 2010, approximately 50 million conventional meters will be replaced by smart meters in the United States at a cost of roughly $18 billion. Cameron O’Reilly, the chief executive of Landis, forecasts that consumers will eventually form “home area networks” that allow appliances to be cycled automatically to slash power consumption.

Oncor has yet to obtain rate approval but said its program likely will cost ratepayers $2.35 per month for 11 years or roughly $300. Each meter costs about $120.