MLGW union member says utility is keeping employees in the dark

Bill Hawkins says MLGW is keeping its employees and the public in the dark.

Hawkins says, "My questions is what do they have to hide?"
Hawkins who represents MLGW union members confronted company executives about a plan to implement an automated meter reading system.

Hawkins continues, "Please answer our questions...I think this is a forum where I think we'd be better served to sit down and discuss it."

The system would essentially make meter readers obsolete.

"The concerns we have at the union hall is these employees aren't going to have anywhere to go because Mr. Lee has cut all those positions out of the budget," continues Hawkins.

Operations manager Glen Hancox says the company plans to continue its track record of no company layoffs.

Hancox says, "We're going to have a workforce transition in place and these people will move throughout the company."

Hancox says the new system  will result in more accurate bills, more flexible payment options, and faster response to power outages and water leaks.

Hancox continues, "The benefits to our customers are just endless."

Hawkins claims it will mean higher cost to the customer.  He says other cities similar to Memphis in size, have spent a billion dollars.

Hancox says, "So that's the equivalent of 4 FedExForums being saddled on the ratepayers of MLGW."

Company officials say they aren't ready to release those figures.

"Part of the reason I can't discuss cost is because it would give away our negotiating position as we move forward in this," says Hancox.

MLGW says the benefits will outweigh the costs.