Homeowners express concerns over Ameren smart meters, company says it received little complaints

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:01 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Susan Dorn of Ballwin has called an air conditioning repair company to her home several times recently. She hadn’t had any problems with her central air conditioning system previously.

“I noticed shortly after the meter went in it seemed to struggle turning over. Made some noises I had never heard before,” she said.

In total, she’s spent $1,700 on repairs to her A/C unit.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Dorn.

She wondered if it was merely a coincidence that Ameren had recently replaced her electric meter with a new smart meter, or if there might be a connection. When she posted on social media about the situation, she heard from others who experienced flickering lights and appliances going out after new smart meters were installed.

“I think it’s more than coincidence,” said Dorn.

Ameren is halfway through a 4-year plan to install 1.2 million smart meters. The next-generation meters will have the ability to detect a power outage and independently report it. The meters will also give customers more details about their electric usage, giving them the ability to better manage their usage and save money, an Ameren spokesman said.

John Luth with Ameren said the company has had virtually no complaints about the new electric meters.

“If customers ever have a concern or a question we encourage them to call us. And as needed we’ll send a technician, if needed. And we’ll go look and investigate and see what’s going on. A lot of times the issue is in the customer’s home. It might be a wiring internally, it might be an appliance, it might be the meter socket,” said Luth.

Cody Potts of Potts Electric told News 4 that he’s been called a number of times by homeowners after a new smart meter was installed.

“We’ve seen a lot when smart meters get installed, a lot of the older systems, they seem to have issues with it,” he said.

Potts said he believes the new, more sophisticated meters are less forgiving than the ones being replaced and are revealing existing issues in homeowners’ household electrical systems that they weren’t aware of before.

“Things get old and when you start innovating more technology to your systems and stuff like that, it just seems to really show the flaws,” said Potts.

All residential and business electric customers in Ameren Missouri’s service area will receive a new smart meter. Installation of the new meters is expected to be completed in 2024.

Smart meters can provide improved reliability, outage response, and great service convenience, Ameren says.