PPL Electric Utilities on Monday asked the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to approve a plan that will have customers cover the cost of replacing its electric meters.

The energy company, which serves 8,000 customers in York County, is installing smart meters to comply with state law, said Jennifer Kocher, PUC spokeswoman.

In 2008, state lawmakers passed Act 129, which re- quires electric utility com- panies to install smart meters as an effort to reduce demand, energy consumption and consumer bills.

The law also allows the electric companies to recover the costs of the upgrades by increasing customer bills.

"Everything we do for the delivery of electricity is recovered by the customer. The customer pays for all infrastructure. It's the way it works in public utilities," said PPL spokesman Paul Wirth.

PPL said it will spend $450 million to replace its 1.4 million electric meters between 2017 and 2019.

To pay for it, customer bills will increase by various amounts each month during the next several years: 58 cents per month in 2015, $3.05 in 2016, $4.77 in 2017, $5.99 in 2018, $6.69 in 2019, $4.50 in 2020, $3.82 in 2021 and $2.79 thereafter.

That doesn't include any rate increases that may be filed with the PUC during the same years.

The PUC's board of directors will review PPL's plan and "make sure the money is being spent wisely," Kocher said.

PECO, which serves 4,500 customers in York County, has nearly completed the task of switching to the smart meters.

Met-Ed, which serves 172,000 customers in York County, is also is in the early process of switching to smart meters.

All electric utilities in Pennsylvania have until 2023 to complete the process.

— Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.