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FPL laying off hundreds of meter readers

Energy provider installing 'smart meter' system

MIAMI – Another recognized profession is going the way of the milkman.

Florida Power & Light (FPL) is changing to new "smart meter" technology that transmits home energy use in real time, meaning meter readers will no longer be needed.

According to FPL's Elaine Hinsdale, 191 jobs have been lost since installation began, and 419 other positions have been impacted through attrition, retraining and other measures.

When the project is completed, either later this year or early next year, FPL says a total of 690 jobs will be impacted.

Miami-Dade and Broward are the first counties in Florida to receive smart meters, which FPL began installing in 2009.

One-quarter of the $800 million upgrade is being paid with by a grant from the Department of Energy, so FPL says customers will not see a rate hike because of the change.