State regulators on Wednesday gave the verbal go-ahead to Xcel Energy Inc. to install $612 million worth of new, so-called “smart” meters in customers homes and businesses across the state, as well as equipment that will control voltage on the system.

And they also approved a test of “decoupling,” or breaking the link, between the amout of electricity Xcel (NYSE: XEL) sells and the amount of revenue the utility gets from customers via their monthly bills.

Written decisions are expected within the next few weeks, and the parties in the cases also will have a chance to ask the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to review its decision.

The impact of the two decisions is expected to give more information to customers — and the utility — about when and how much energy is used, and also remove Xcel’s reluctance to support renewable energy or energy efficiency programs that would reduce their sales of electricity to consumers, cutting into the utility’s revenue stream.

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