Oncor's new meters will cost homeowners an extra $2.21 every month for the next 11 years.
It happened when meters were replaced at a North Dallas town home community this week.
“As the president of the association, if something is going to happen in the neighborhood with 132 owners, I’m probably going to hear about it from somebody,” said David Rejebian. “And I didn’t hear it from anybody.”
But Rejebian did notice power to the clocks in his house had been interrupted.
“And didn’t know that the power had been shut off until I went and looked at the meter and saw that there was (a) new one there.”
In August a Fair Park area resident fired a shot gun at an Oncor worker climbing over a fence to replace the meter. The resident told police he thought the home was being burglarized. Neighbors there said they had received no advance notice of meter replacement.
“People get nervous when they see somebody they don’t know, and if somebody, is especially, coming and doing something to their house,” Rejebian said.
Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar said the company’s policy calls for notifying residents three weeks before meter replacement with a yellow door hanger. A red door hanger is to be left after the switch has been made.
“Even though we’re within our rights to be on private property to maintain our facilities, we still want to communicate in an abundance of caution,” she explained.
Cuellar said the company is working to be sure the policy is followed.
“Safety is a top priority for Oncor and we are trying always to find ways to improve our communications practices so that we can be a good neighbor for the safety of consumers, as well as the safety of our personnel,” Cuellar said.
Oncor is installing more than 3 million so called “Smart Meters” in North Texas over the next several years. Cuellar said it is the largest meter deployment in the nation.
The digital meters will allow remote service control and meter reading capability for companies. Customers are paying for the meters with a rate hike of more than $2 a month for 11 years. Oncor claims customers will save money in the long run with constant digital information on electric usage.
“In real time you will be able to see and know what your bill to date monthly total is rather than getting your bill at the end of the month when it’s too late to change your habits,” Cuellar said.
Get More: Oncor's Smart Meter Web site