(WMC-TV) - With 1,200 installed and a planned 60,000 more to come, a Memphis city councilwoman and MLGW customers raised concerns about smart meters during a meeting Thursday.
A town hall meeting at the Benjamin L Hooks Central Library discussed potential dangers about the new technology.
MLGW employees attempted to explain how smart meters can benefit customers, but they were often interrupted by a tough crowd who mostly opposed the installations.
Memphis Councilwoman Janis Fullilove said she had her smart meter removed.
"There has been a great deal of controversy throughout the country about those smart meters because they are said to cause house fires," said Fullilove. "There have even been situations when fires were caused as a result of smart meters here in Memphis."
Fullilove said her utility cost went up after the smart meter was installed.
Members of the IBEW Union, which represents MLGW workers, held signs in protest of the smart meters outside of the meeting.
"All across the country utility bills are doubling and tripling. The high bill comes because of the smart meter," said Rick Thompson with IBEW.
The 1,200 smart meters currently on homes are part of MLGW's pilot program.
Some homeowners like the meters because it saves money and allow them to go online and find out how much energy is being used. But talk of higher bills and even fires have customers scared.
Also, there is a fear the computer in the smart meter can get a virus and can be hacked.
"This gives the potential form [of] government, foreign or domestic, or attackers of some type with any sort of agenda to take control of parts or all of the power grid," said customer Adam Eubank.
"A meter cannot cause a fire," said MLGW CEO Jerry Collins.
He said they also lower customer's utility bills.
Smart meters are designed to allow a homeowner to change their power usage as they desire.
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