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Residents: Are Smart Meters Accurate?

A class action lawsuit against smart meters has electric customers in our area questioning if the meters are responsible for their high utilities bills.

Tallahassee resident Patricia Screen says her utilities bill is too high.

"It's a struggle." She said.

Screen says she doesn't believe city workers actually read her smart meter. "My utilities bill was the exact same amount. One month it was $151 and something and the next month it was the exact same amount."

Residents in the Bakersfield area of California have filed a class-action lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric because they believe their new smart meters are malfunctioning, making their bills much higher than before.

As far as Tallahassee is concerned, Matt Matherne, the Tallahassee Utility Accounts Administrator, said, "The accuracy of the meters is sound."

The City of Tallahassee installed 118,000 smart meters for residential and commercial customers in 2009.

Matherne said, "We have had a couple of concerns of that nature at the very beginning of the project, which is now over a year ago. We checked those out individually and saw no issues with the meters."

Matherne says the city is confident in their meter company--Elster, formerly White Westinghouse--because it has 178 years of experience.

For customers who aren't as sure about their bills being calculated by the meters and computer system, Matherne said, "You can check our figures by going to look at the meter yourself."

Tallahassee resident Mariah Blake says she's thankful to not have problems with her bill.

She said, "They complain about the energy. but, some people just burn lights without being used. if I'm not in a room, I don't leave lights on. I cut them off. Then, they came around one year and they gave me these energy saving bulbs, and they are the bomb."

Administrators say at last check, they can read 99.6 percent of all smart meters through the communication computer system.

For any data that cannot be read, administrators say they go out and physically read the meter to ensure accuracy.

City workers say people's bills are high because of rates and customers' usage.

Tallahassee offers programs to help with energy conservation, go to talgov.com for information.

If you don't think your smart meter working properly, you can call the city and they will come and check it.


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