Council Members Prepare For Fight Over Smart Meters

Mike Matthews    06/09/2015 05:50 PM

MEMPHIS, TN ( — Memphis City Council members are preparing for a big fight over spending $240 million for smart meters.

Memphis Light, Gas, and Water wants to replace all of its old electric meters with the smart meters. Meters that are controversial.

$240-million dollars is a lot of money, especially when critics say smart meters are dangerous.

Fire is a cruel thing. Burning everything it can find. It has a voracious appetite that can spread quickly.

A house burned this past weekend next door where Marilyn Hancock and family live.

I was in my bedroom and I heard my next door neighbor screaming. I looked out the window. I saw the blaze coming from the storageicon1.png house on top of the vehicle. And that’s when I immediately got my family out of the home,” Hancock said.

Lester and Lula Miller said their house caught fire after a power surge. Hancock said she did not notice any power surge.

Her place caught fire after the Miller’s van with gas in the tank blew up.

“A lot of damage inside the house. Water damage inside the house. A lot of my furniture got damaged inside the home from the water. And the weather storm that took place last night,” Hancock said.

The Miller’s fire was caused by an electrical problem. They said they have a smart meter. Smart meters have been criticized for possibly causing fires.

MLGW said the Millers do not have a smart meter. We could not find a house in the neighborhood with one.

But it’s an argument Marilyn Hancock isn’t joining.

“We’re doing fine. My family has been very supportive and they’ve been there for us,” Hancock said.

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Family claims MLGW smart meter was on burned house

Posted: Jun 08, 2015 6:41 PM PDTUpdated: Jun 08, 2015 8:29 PM PDT

By Jason Miles MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -Members of a Whitehaven family made it out alive when their home went up in flames over the weekend. Now, they suspect a controversial smart meter may have sparked the blaze.”Nine people got out of the house,” said relative Sherry Mackey. “My cousin, her six kids, my aunt and my uncle,” she added. “It’s just by the grace of God,” she said.The house first caught fire before a van in the carport exploded. The fire department determined the cause was electrical in nature, and the family wonders if an electrical meter played a role.”They put a smart meter on the house,” said Mackey.

Smart meters are a more efficient way of tracking energy usage and are part of a $240 million MLGW modernization proposal. The devices
have sparked controversy, and some believe they can even start fires.  MLGW was adamant there was no smart meter at the house that caught fire.

“That’s a lie,” said Mackey. “My uncle works on the house all of the time and he and other family members saw the smart meter on
the house,” she added.

An MLGW spokesman said technicians seen in the area after the fire were there to secure services and make sure other customers were
not affected.  The family claims workers removed the meter from charred debris.

“I would hope that Memphis Light, Gas, and Water would take responsibility for it,” said Mackey.

MLGW currently uses three types of meters and believes the family may have confused a digital meter for a smart meter. Again, MLGW said there is no record of a smart meter being used at the house.

2015 WMC Action News 5