Midtowners Smarting After MLGW Bill

About six months ago I and other neighbors were notified by MLGW that smart meters would be installed in our area. They gave instructions for opting out, which I immediately took. Otherwise, no response was an OK to let them install these monstrosities.

For along time many of us have seen the smart meter as a way to raise your bill and control your behavior. They want you to use energy aside from peak times and they want you to make it keep the thermostat high in summer and low in winter. This puts a big burden on people who are at home during the day, particularly handicapped people, children and people out of work.

Yet because they put “smart” in front of meter, many people were fooled and lulled into thinking this was an advance.

Many of us knew better.

Then last week someone posted the heading MLGW robbery at the Nextdoor site. She complained that her daughter’s utility bill for a less than 700 sq. foot apartment equalled that of her 1700 sq. foot house. The daughter’s bill was $220 a month. After complaining to MLGW she was told that if you have a smart meter you are penalized 4% of your bill through TVA if your thermostat is not 78 or higher.

The woman, who lives on my street, decided she’d have her smart meter removed.

Another complained that MLGW installed a smart meter on her mother’s house after she died without requesting permission and the utility bills have more than doubled with no lights and no air. She claims they charged $157 installation fee, too.

Then one wrote: “Mine have doubled in my house as well and I am also told that it is because I keep my thermostat under 78. This is no joke. I have spent HOURS at the main office and they say that the smart meter knows.” She was also told “to use fans in summer and space heaters in winter…..this tells me that energy is not billed equally. Fans and heaters use electricity….so of this is correct then the smart heaters are some how able to read what is coming from central heat and air (electric) and charge accordingly and also penalize you for that.”
Someone else commented,”I’m looking into mine tomorrow! I knew something was screwy. I have a studio and keep my thermostat at 78 (I don’t mind the warmth) and my bill has still been over $100. Tomfoolery!”

Then, “I worked with women who make less than $30K yearly, living in low rent housing. One such woman’s MLGS bills have been over $700. This is outrageous…even after getting the landlord to look at electrical issues, she’s still the one responsible for the bills.”

Others disagreed and doubted the meter could tell the temperature of your house: “Sorry if someone has already addressed this. I don’t have time to read all the comments. I called MLGW and this is what I was told: When they first started the project to install the smart meters they were going to charge for them. But they decided not to. It was not clear if maybe they charged some of the first ones to receive them or not. If you feel you were charged for the unit, call them and contest. Charging 6% increase per degree under 78 degrees is not new, nor is it due to the smart meters. This has always been the cost structure. They can tell by the consumption. Again, has nothing to do with the new meters.”

Really? Then why the higher bills?
Someone else countered, “true, for every bill than was ‘lower’ you still have many bills than are much more higher than bills under the olde analog meters. Again, smart meters do not persay, warrant lower bills. MLGW customer service is one of the worst nation wide for energy companies. BIG MONEY GRAB.”

The abundance of liberal progressives in Memphis does not surprise me. They will always back things like smart meters. But I was surprised at how many people had exactly the experience many of us suspected would happen. I would say more than half were unhappy with the smart meters.

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