City council grills MLGW on smart meter issues - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City council grills MLGW on smart meter issues

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Memphis City Council posed tough questions to MLGW about the ongoing upgrade to smart meters.

Some customers have not been happy with the upgrades, saying they are reducing jobs for meter readers and delaying bills.

Tuesday, city council members questioned MLGW on whether customers can truly opt out of the smart readers, and what will happen to the meter reader jobs.

“We are just trying to figure out when people opt out, why are the meters taken out anyway?” councilwoman Jamita Swearengen said.

“What type of training is being offered to meter readers to ensure they can transition?” councilwoman Janis Fullilove said.

Swearengen and Fullilove both had lists of questions about MLGW’s new smart meter technology and what it means for utility customers and employees, but they are going to have to wait for official answers.

MLGW's upgrade is ongoing and eliminates the need for meter readers and gets rid of estimated bills.

The transition is causing delays in billing.

“The meter readers, knowing that we won't need meter readers in the future and we won't have estimated bills in the future, have been attritioning out of those meter reader positions at a faster rate than we anticipated,” MLGW president Jerry Collins said.

Collins said any billing issues should be resolved this month. Any reductions in meter reading staffing are attrition only, meaning no layoffs.

MLGW said people can opt out of the new smart meters. Swearengen said some of her constituents opted out, but MLGW replaced the old meter with a smart meter anyway.

Collins said MLGW will look into the questions brought up in Tuesday’s meeting. The committee ran out of time during the meeting and the council will discuss smart meters and the issues around them in more depth next month.

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