Customer’s Smart Meter questions answered

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "That was a terrifying night."

Just a few short months ago, Linda Cooper walked out of her Whitehaven home to find a strange man working out back.

"He was getting busy, just humming him a little song. I said, `Excuse me, sir, can you tell me what you`re doing?` `Oh, I`m gonna put your Smart Meter on.` I said, `Uh, no sir.`"

Cooper said she called MLGW and declined to have a Smart Meter installed.

They sent her a letter back asking her to sign and acknowledge she was opting out of the program. However, they also noted she would be charged at a higher rate for certain services, like having her power connected or reconnected in the event of a late payment.

"People on fixed incomes. People ain`t got money just to be throwing up in the air," said Cooper.

We asked MLGW about the higher fees.

They said Smart Meters cut down on manpower and labor costs, allowing them to lower certain fees for users.

"If a customer does not have a smart meter, we have to literally send someone out, so they will be charged extra," said Gale Carson Jones with MLGW.

MLGW also said the real-time outages notifications won't be available if Cooper opts out of having a Smart Meter. They said she also won't have access to the same breadth of data as Smart Meter customers.

"For example, if you have the Smart Meter you`ll be able to see all day long how much energy consumption you`re using, but that`s because of the new technology."

Cooper just doesn't see it that way.

"Don`t go just bamboozing people `cause you feel you got the right to do that."