MLGW hopes to switch 24,000 customers to 'smart meters' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

MLGW hopes to switch 24,000 customers to 'smart meters'

(WMC-TV) - Many expect the Memphis City Council to make a decision soon regarding the so-called smart meters that have caused much opposition from residents.

MLGW says smart meters are the future, which is leading the analog utility meter on the way out.

"Has a lot of cost saving involved with it," said MLGW CEO Jerry Collins in May.

Weeks ago Collins talked about the accuracy of the smart meters and the cost savings to the customer. The meter gives printable information on the bill to show when a customer uses the most energy and what times of the day he or she should use more energy to save money. In other words, it provides real time information to help reduce a customer's utility bill during peak hours.

According to MLGW, the smart meters bring a number of advantages, and that the entire industry is moving in that direction.

Although, opposition still remains.

"All across the country utility bills are doubling and tripling. The high bill comes because of the smart meter," said Rick Thompson with IBEW at a town hall meeting. "We feel the customers need to know what MLGW is about to do to them."

Some people have concerns about privacy because the meter sends information to MLGW.

"This gives the potential form [of] government, foreign or domestic, or attackers of some type with any sort of agenda to take control of parts or all of the power grid," said customer Adam Eubank.

But others, like the workers union, have concerns about a reduction in jobs.

"Meter readers are turning in 1,300 tickets a year of things they're finding out in the field. Smart Meters will never find those things," said Hawkins.

Collins says no one will lose their jobs as a result of Smart Meters.

"We will eliminate 170 positions over seven years through attrition," he said.

MLGW hopes for the council approval to get 24,000 customers switched from an analog meter to a smart meter or less than six percent of its customers. City leaders are expected to vote August 6.

It is important for customers to note if they do not want a smart meter, whether a business or residence, then they can opt out of the program.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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