Councilmembers Voice Concerns Over Smart Meters

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Memphis City Council members and a local union representative are raising concerns about smart meters being installed by MLGW.

MLGW began a pilot program in 2010 but will now install an additional 60,000 smart meters.

Smart Meters eliminate the need for a meter reader by wirelessly transmitting electrical use to the utility company.

“We are hearing a lot of concerns about fires about the equipment and of course MLGW believes these systems are safe. They believe we need them and they present a cost savings. But in other parts of the country we are hearing stories that contradict that,” said Councilwoman Wanda Halbert.

“Smart meters absolutely do not cause fires, period. All the meters plug into a socket. If that socket has a problem then it can overheat,” said MLGW CEO Jerry Collins. Collins said the company will also repair or replace the utility boxes behind the meter if it is needed.

“There was a box of these burned up meters, they are coming in every week. There’s about a 30 % failure rate,” said Local Union 1288 representative Bill Hawkins.

Hawkins claimed to have pictures of local smart meters that have burned. MLGW representative Richard Thompson said they’ve not had any smart meter fires since they began using them in 2010.

However across the country smart meter fires have been reported.

In California there were smart meters overcharging customers.

Some people have concerns that the radio frequency from the meters might cause cancer, but the American Cancer Society said the risk is extremely low.

Halbert said she and other council members wanted to express their concerns in hope that MLGW addressed them, “We want to make sure the citizens of Memphis can trust out utility company."