More MLGW customers say they're being charged for smart meter error

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More MLGW customers are coming forward, saying they've been hit with big bills because of mistakes made by smart meters that went on for years.

The utility said the glitch is a rare occurrence.

David Van Alstine said he was not shocked when he received a $1,500 bill from MLGW.

"My bill had dropped so I was watching that difference from what it had been and the new billing," Van Alstine said.

Van Alstine said he started noticing lower bills more than a year ago right after MLGW installed a smart meter at his home.

The $1,500 he's coughing up now is for underbilling over the past several months.

"If you use it, you got to pay for it," said MLGW spokeswoman Gale Jones Carson.

Carson said Van Alstine's smart meter for gas transmitted the wrong utility information which caused him to be under billed.

According to MLGW, smart meters are 99 percent more reliable and more accurate than traditional analog meters and that mishaps rarely happen.

But over the past couple of days, several people reached out, saying meter mistakes are costing them big.

"Whatever you actually use, you're going to end up being charged that," Carson said. "Light gas and water cannot give away utility services."

Most people would be upset to get a large bill, but Van Alstine said he saved up and prepared for it.

"I just paid it because I expected that to happen," Van Alstine said.

Carson said if this happens to you, don't wait around, call MLGW immediately.

"If you know what your monthly bill is for your utility consumption, and your bill all of a sudden is much less and you're not using less energy, you need to call light gas and water because eventually the bill is going to true up," Carson said.

One Cooper-Young customer still owes $968 but will get a payment plan to spread out the cost.

About 60 percent of MLGW meters are now smart meters, and the rollout should be finished by the year 2020.

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