Pizza place left in the dark after installation of unwanted smart meter

Pizza place left in the dark after installation of unwanted smart meter
Published: Dec. 28, 2016 at 10:49 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2016 at 6:14 AM CST
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(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A dispute over smart meters left customers and workers at a local pizza place in the dark Tuesday night.

Despite the lights being back on and burning bright Wednesday at Broadway Pizza, the business was left in the dark for almost 24 hours after a utility worker installed a smart meter.

The owner of the business said they never requested a smart meter.

"It's very frustrating," Broadway Pizza owner Dewana Ishee said. "We're still in the dark, hopefully by some time today they'll get us turned back on."

Ishee spent part of Wednesday in the dark with no customers, no deliveries, and lost revenue.

"All because they did something we asked them not to do," she said. "We specifically told them not to put a smart meter on our business."

But, utility workers did install a smart meter outside her business Tuesday. That's when the lights went out.

Surveillance video shows a worker putting in a meter around lunch time. During the installation of the meter, she said her restaurant lost power. She said once the utility worker realized he made a mistake, he used a jumper cable to try to correct the problem.

"Now we've got a full restaurant again because we've been jumpered off and they're going to pull the plug in the middle of people taking bites of their food," Ishee said.

Now, she's upset that she spent hours without power and without business.

Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) said if they didn't want a smart meter, then there is a process to not have one installed.

"If a customer does not want a smart meter, they just need to follow the process of letting us know," MLGW spokesperson Gale Jones said.

MLGW said they send out letters a month before installing any smart meter and customers must call in to opt out. They said a letter was sent to Broadway Pizza on November 1.

"We have nothing on record to show that this company opted out," Jones said.

But, Broadway Pizza said they never received a letter.

Ishee said the outage put her business in the dark during their busiest time of year.

"Our main source of income is between December and March," Ishee said.

Ishee said she didn't want the smart meter because she supports meter readers.

MLGW said once you receive a letter regarding a smart meter, you must call in to opt out. The number to call is 901-544-6549.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.