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VOL. 128 | NO. 162 | Tuesday, August 20, 2013

City Council to Consider Smart Meters

By Bill Dries

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The Memphis City Council’s long-running debate over the use of Smart Meters by Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division with time-of-use rates is expected to reach a critical phase at the council’s Tuesday, Aug. 20, session.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125, N. Main St.

Follow the action with live tweets at twitter.com/tdnpols during the meeting.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The council agenda includes a vote on a $10.1 million contract with Elster Solutions LLC to buy the Smart Meters. The contract would expand the use of the meters in a pilot program that currently takes in 1,000 homes.

The council will also meet as a rate-making body to approve the time-of-use residential rates that customers who get the Smart Meters will pay effective Oct. 1. The time-of-use rates charges customers in the Smart Meter program based on the time of the day energy is used, with higher rates for peak hours when demand is high and lower rates in off-peak hours.

Opponents of the Smart Meters dominated a council committee session on the matter two weeks ago. They are expected to turn out for Tuesday’s council debate and vote as well.

Utility officials have been just as vocal in their insistence that the meters do not pose the safety hazards critics allege and are a more efficient system for the utility and for customers and ratepayers.

Some council members have suggested amendments that could include eliminating a fee for opting out of the Smart Meter program.

Also on the council’s agenda is a planned development for a gas station on the northeast corner of Knight Arnold and Ridgeway roads.

A planned development by Utley Properties on the northeast corner of Kirby Parkway and Kirby Gates Boulevard would add a free-standing commercial building of more than 3,000 square feet to the Kirby Gate Business Campus.

The council will also consider a special use permit at 3420 Old Getwell Road at Holman Road for a Corrections Corp. of America residential re-entry center.

During Tuesday’s council executive session, council members Lee Harris and Janis Fullilove will again make their case for a four-month moratorium on any demolition permits for properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

The council two weeks ago rejected the proposal, which is aimed specifically at preventing demolition of the Nineteenth Century Club building on Union Avenue. Demolition already has been halted by a Shelby County Chancery Court order pending a full hearing on a dispute about the terms of the property’s sale by the nonprofit Nineteenth Century Club to a developer.

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