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The Memphis, Tenn., City Council recently approved Memphis Light, Gas and Water's (MLGW) budget expenditure of $10.1 million for the purchase of 60,000 smart meters from Elster Solutions.

The smart meters - electric, gas and water - will be installed at 24,000 homes starting later this year. Eighty percent of the homes are located in Memphis while 20% are elsewhere in Shelby County. MLGW says the selected areas have existing telecommunications assets and will allow the utility to cut four to six meter reading routes out of 21 billing cycles.

Selected homeowners were notified by letter earlier this year about the installations. To date, the utility says only 125 customers, or 0.52% of the total, have opted out. MLGW also agreed to waive the opt-out fee.

This smart meter expansion is expected to conclude in mid-2014. Upon completion, MLGW will have 61,000 smart meters out of its 1.1 million meters system-wide. Currently, there are 1,000 smart meters in use from a three-year Smart Grid Demonstration pilot. MLGW says its goal is to fully implement smart meters by 2020.




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