Oncor's new meters will cost homeowners an extra $2.21 every month for the next 11 years.
"It's the last thing you expect to see when you wake up, is a big tall man standing in your back yard," said Sandi Sharp, who feared the man was a robber trying to break in.
But the only thing the man was trying to steal was her old electric meter. Oncor is switching out meters all over the Metroplex and installing new ones designed to help consumers better track their electric use.
The electric company said its workers are supposed to knock before hopping fences -- and claims they did at Sharp's house -- but she said she never heard a knock. The gate to her six-foot-tall privacy fence was locked.
An Oncor representative said workers are within their rights to enter a back yard to access electric equipment. The new meters should eliminate the need for workers to climb fences in the future.
"One of the benefits of the new meter is we don't have to get into your back yard to read the meter," Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar said.
Cuellar said the company hangs yellow door tags in neighborhood to let residents know workers will be in the neighborhood. And people can use a company Web site to see when workers are scheduled to be in the area.
Sharp said she fears one of the workers will be hurt if the company doesn't do more to warn people in advance.
"Somebody has to know that this is not right," she said. "I mean, it could be a robber. I mean, he could get shot."