New smart electricity meters will go live today for the 250,000 households in Ireland that have had the technology installed over the last 18 months.

The 'National Smart Metering Programme' will see ESB Networks replace 2.4 million electricity meters with next generation smart meters.

As part of the programme, all households in Ireland will receive a smart meter and once installed, they will be able to avail of the new technology.

Electric Ireland is today launching a range of plans for their customers who have already had the meters installed.

The 'Home Electric+' plans will give customers personalised insights on electricity usage via an online account portal.

Customers will also receive monthly emails to highlight which appliances are using the most electricity.

Some plans will offer cheaper electricity rates between the hours of 11pm and 8am, or between 2-4am.

Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director of Electric Ireland said the company is committed to helping customers understand what is driving their electricity usage.

"The introduction of our new smart meter offerings is a landmark day for us and our customers.

"Less consumption of energy at peak times means reduced carbon emissions, as well as reduced bills for households and businesses.

"Customers can use the insights we provide to discover how and when they use electricity so that they can change their usage patterns to make savings," she said.

New research carried out by Electric Ireland shows that 82% of consumers want to reduce the amount of energy they use and 87% indicated they would look to their energy provider to offer information on their energy usage and efficiency.

According to Electric Ireland, smart meters will help to deliver on this ambition.

From today, the Electric Ireland smart meter plans are available to residential customers that have had a smart meter installed in their home.

To date, smart meters have been installed in a number of locations, including parts of Dublin, Sligo, Limerick, Cork City, Bandon, Portlaoise, Navan and Drogheda.

These customers would have received a communication from ESB Networks when the smart meter was installed.