(TNS) -- National Grid is preparing to install roughly 14,000 so-called smart meters at customers' homes in Clifton Park as part of a next-generation energy efficiency program.

State regulators approved the program last year as part of the state's push to give consumers more power over their energy consumption and pricing.

The smart meters, made by a company called Iltron, use cellphone technology to communicate real-time electric usage to National Grid.

The utility is installing the meters without cost to customers, who can also decline the installation and opt out of the program.

The installations are expected to start around March, with customers being notified and being able to opt out of the installation before then. All residents who get both gas and electric through National Grid will be eligible for the new meters.

©2017 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.