Tuesday’s City Council meeting took up the smart meter opt out situation, but not much was covered by the media.
Janis Fullilove has written this resolution, which would be a tremendous help to Memphians opposed to them:
WHEREAS, The City Council desires to ensure that customers of Memphis, Light, Gas and Water and give them the right to determine how their utility usage shall be monitored and billed; and
WHEREAS, Memphis Light Gas and Water has completed a pilot project involving the installation of advanced metering infrastructure devices, otherwise known as “smart meters”; the next phase of MLGW’s initiative will include the installation of a combined 60,000 residential electric, natural gas and water smart meters;
WHEREAS, MLGW has a strategic plan to replace traditional meters in Memphis and Shelby County with smart meters; and
WHEREAS, the installation of smart meters has caused a considerable amount of concern throughout the city; and
WHEREAS, there have been reported problems with smart meters including higher bill complaints and non-functioning meters; and
WHEREAS, smart meters raise privacy and security issues, as well as fire risks; and
WHEREAS, the Council believes that customers of MLGW should have the right to choose whether or not they want to convert their existing meters to smart meters.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that funding for the installation of additional smart meters shall be made contingent upon MLGW’s presentation to the City Council a policy that gives ALL customers the right to opt-out at any time of having a smart meter installed at their residence, commercial building or facility without being charged an additional fee.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, said policy must include the following methods of opting out at a minimum: by phone, online, at any community office, or by U.S. Mail; additionally, MLGW is to send notice to all customers that there is no charge or fee to opt-out of having a smart meter.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Memphis Light Gas and Water’s funding for the installation of the smart meters shall also be made contingent upon MLGW’s adoption and implementing advertisements monthly, via Utility Bills along with PSA’s through all media outlets notifying customers of their rights and methods of opting out.
Also at that meeting Council Man Joe Brown told MLGW President Jerry Collins that he has subpoena power and could subpoena anything or anyone for evidence. This was his way of urging Collins to tell the truth. Opponents to smart meters have noted that Collins’ story changes and disinformation is being given out along with information.
We are lucky to have a group of citizens pressuring the council to do the right thing. They need our support.