Memphis City Council questions how process is handled for smart meters opt-out program

Memphis City Council questions how process is handled for smart meters opt-out program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A controversial discussion about the way the smart meter opt-out process is handled got a lot of city leaders talking.

Memphis City Councilman Joe Brown called the process unfair during the last committee meeting of the year Tuesday.

People who live in the city of Memphis got a little heated too.

“My position is it should not go forward at all because it’s not safe on any level,” said Donna Bohannon with Citizens for Truth about Smart Meters.

Some residents have safety concerns over the proposed MLGW smart meters program.

It’s a concern citizens like Bohannon expressed to the Memphis Council countless times.

“Because it’s not safe on any level, if there’s one person damaged or killed in a fire in Memphis and Shelby County because that`s all of our county, then this should not go forward,” she said.

Bohannon argued meters could invade her privacy, create a fire hazard and increase her utility bill.

Some council members are concerned MLGW customers who end up opting out of the program will end up with higher utility bills.

Brown said that’s not fair.

“Memphis Light Gas and Water does not have the paper work in the right perspectives, it is not correct, the main thing is that if you`re going to opt out for something, you should have an application to fill out and then it`s turned back into the utility company,” he said.

MLGW’S president Jerry Collins argued the opt-out program is successful. He said anyone who wants to opt out can do it without being charged.

“The process is very fair and the process is very simple, we send a letter to the customers about a month before we install the meters and we say we`re going to install smart meters in your neighborhood, if you want to opt out call this number,” he said.

“We can make an effort to try to provide some type of protection for the general public with the overall opt out language,” said Berlin Boyd with the Memphis City Council.

Some still have their doubts.

“This is an endless money pit,” Bohannon said.

Council members will bring this item up for discussion again in two weeks.

MLGW said out of the first 24,000 homes where meters were installed, 3.6 percent of the customers opted out.

They now have the meters they had originally.

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