Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Smart Talk: Smart meter project progress and the opt-out process

Since May, MLGW has been installing smart meters as part of a five-year modernization of its metering infrastructure. It is by far the largest improvement project in the Division’s 77-year history. The return on investment for the project will be reaped in five to seven years. Operational and personnel savings achieved (gained through attrition — MLGW has NEVER had a layoff) will result in greater efficiencies and lower costs. More than 20,000 new meters have been installed since late spring of 2016 (all three services — electric, gas and water — are being replaced, but most of the installations have been electric). The convenience of faster connection and reconnection; the security of keeping their gates locked and the empowerment of knowing exactly how much their utility service will be BEFORE the end of the month are some of the benefits eagerly anticipated by customers. Many residents are looking forward to the upgrade which will allow Shelby County residents to enjoy the technological advancements citizens in other Tennessee cities like Chattanooga now experience. However, if a customer chooses to decline a smart meter they can opt-out.

The opt-out process guidelines are broad and the process simple. When you receive the 30-day installation notice, call 820-7878 and request the paperwork. The customer of record signs and sends it back. Now, like all viable businesses, there are some reasonable exceptions so a few people don’t take advantage:

(1) If in the last 24 months a customer has been found guilty of diversion (utility theft) or had a routinely inaccessible meter. Routinely is defined as four consecutive
months where MLGW’s ability to read the meter has been obstructed, resulting in an estimated bill, which can be vastly different from actual usage.
(2) If an MLGW employee has been attacked by a dog on a customer’s property or if Memphis Police department has been called to protect our employee.
Understand that in either scenario, after 12 months the clock starts over and the customer would be eligible to opt-out if their account is without incident.

MLGW is committed to doing what is in the best interest of all its customers. Providing service improvements when they are available and affordable is an important part of that commitment.
Full scale implementation of smart meters is a prime example of how MLGW plans to offer enhanced service and payment options that are affordable and readily available in the marketplace.
To learn more about smart meters, go to mlgw.com/smartgrid.

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