Versant Power, the state's second-largest electric utility, is replacing more than 100,000 electric meters for homes and small- to medium-sized businesses.

The current meters are at the end of their service life, so Versant is using the opportunity to upgrade the tech to give customers real-time data about electric usage and to help the company identify power outages.

Central Maine Power dealt with pushback from customers when it replaced 650,000 analog meters with “smart meters” that included low-power radios to transmit data to the utility.

Some customers contended the signals from the transceivers could cause health problems. State and federal regulators say the meters are safe.

Like CMP, Versant will allow customers who are worried about the smart meters to opt out and use an analog meter for a fee. Someone will have to travel to those homes to read the meter every other month.

All told, more than 100,000 out of Versant's more than 160,000 customers will qualify for the new meters, said spokesperson Judy Long.

Crews will have to cut power in individual homes and small businesses for a few minutes to replace the meters. They can be replaced regardless of whether someone is home at the time.