PORTLAND – Central Maine Power Co. has selected a California company to supply 620,000 so-called smart meters, to be installed by early 2012, to reduce costs for CMP and let consumers monitor their electricity use, the companies said Thursday.

Redwood City-based Trilliant Inc. said the nearly $200 million program will be funded by CMP with $96 million in federal stimulus money and matching funds from CMP’s corporate parent, Iberdrola USA.

The electricity meters will be connected to a high-speed secured network, enabling CMP to read the meters remotely and eliminate meter readers. Customers will be able to monitor their power consumption, and the technology could open the door to various pricing plans.

“We have ambitious goals to improve our service and deliver value for customers through our smart grid network,” said Sara Burns, CMP’s president and chief executive officer.

Trilliant said it will provide software to manage the smart grid network. It’s partnering with General Electric and Landis+Gyr to provide the meters, and with IBM to provide networking software, the company said. Workers will begin installing the meters this fall, officials said.

Smart meters are on the front line of plans for an advanced power grid because they can communicate with utilities and respond to changing energy prices.

All told, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $230 million in stimulus funding — matched by the recipients — for smart meters in New England.

Smart meters will bring CMP immediate savings by eliminating the need for meter readers, who drive 2 million miles a year to check meters, said CMP spokesman John Carroll. The system also could speed CMP’s storm response and eliminate the need for a site visit when service is turned on or off.

The smart meter plan was opposed by the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers because it calls for layoffs of 141 full- and part-time employees, including 85 meter readers. The union contends that stimulus money shouldn’t have been used for something that has the potential to eliminate jobs.

Smart meters will enable CMP customers to monitor their power use for free online, or through additional equipment available for purchase, allowing them to alter their habits to reduce consumption and save money, Carroll said.

A combination of smart meters and smart grid improvements could open the door to new pricing formulas. Consumers could opt for pricing in which rates vary by the time of day, or for demand-response programs in which appliances could be disabled remotely by utilities.

Dick Davies, Maine’s public advocate, said the technology holds great potential. But he said CMP must work to avoid complaints like those against Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which acknowledged that some customers in its smart meter program may have received inaccurate bills.