City Council Rejects Smart Meter Regulations

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

The Bryan City Council shot down a proposal by two council members to make the new kind of electric meters optional.

All 48,500 Bryan Texas Utilities customers in the area have had the Smart Meters since January. Smart Meters, to allow a utility to directly monitor electric usage without meter readers, were installed in all Bryan homes beginning in February of last year.

Councilman Mike Southerland voted with the rest of the council to switch to Smart Meters.

But Tuesday in a city council meeting he said, “People had no choice. What I am trying to establish here is a procedure where they do have a choice."

Southerland along with council member Richard Cortez want to add more regulations on the smart meters, including an opt-out option.

"When people are concerned, you need to stop and figure that out. I'm of the view that if it's not outrageous to take care of their concerns then we ought to do that,” said Southerland.

Councilmembers were quick to turn the idea down.

"The concern about BTU employees being on the property and doing something, they have been there for years and years reading my meter. I don't know why you are concerned about someone being on there now,” said councilmember Ann Horton.

Then there was this issue of name calling that councilmember Chuck Konderla brought up.

"Mike I bet you didn't mean it that way, but I am going to go ahead and reject the term compassionate dictator. I'm elected council member by my constituents, and I certainly don't see myself as a compassionate dictator,” said Konderla.

Southerland says although he voted for the smart meters initially, the handful of complaints is enough to make a change.

"The issue is that we have people that are concerned, and it is very easy in my view to accommodate those concerns and that's what we ought to be doing,” said Southerland.

With a 6-1 vote, the motion was all customers stay with Smart Meters with no additional regulations.

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