At a meeting of the Memphis City Council's Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Committee this morning, members passed a resolution that will allow any Shelby County resident to opt out of receiving a smart meter at no cost.
In a previous meeting, council members and MLGW executive staff debated about whether or not there was a fee associated with opting out of smart meters, which will provide more detailed information on energy consumption than conventional meters. Councilwoman Janis Fullilove emphasized that she had received hundreds of calls from people expressing their desire to opt out of receiving a smart meter. Fullilove said some citizens informed her that when they contacted MLGW's Customer Customer Care Center about opting out, they were told that there would be a fee associated with having their meters removed.
During the meeting, MLGW President Jerry Collins expressed that there never has been a fee associated with opting out of receiving a smart meter. If customers wish to opt out, Collins said they should call 544-MLGW. A form will be sent to those customers, and they must fill it out and send it back to MLGW to finalize their request.
MLGW’s smart meters have been creating controversy since they've been introduced. Some citizens have expressed worries about the meters potentially invading their privacy, creating a fire hazard, and possibly increasing utility bills.
In August, the city council approved a $10 million contract for MLGW to install 60,000 smart meters between December of this year and June 2014. There will be individual smart meters for electricity, gas, and water. MLGW anticipates installing meters in all Memphis and Shelby County residences and businesses by 2020.