HOUSTON – Thelma Taormina didn’t want a new electric meter, and she went to great lengths to keep her old one.
When a worker showed up at her northwest Harris County home to install a smart meter, she grabbed her gun.
"He just kept pushing me away," the 55-year-old Taormina, who is licensed to carry a weapon, said. "He saw it, and went back the other way."
CenterPoint Energy has nearly completed installing more than 2 million smart meters in the Harris County area.
But Taormina says she shouldn’t be forced to get one.
The smart meters digitally count kilowatts and wirelessly transmit information.
"Our constitution allows us not to have that kind of intrusion on our personal privacy," she said. "They’ll be able to tell if you are running your computer, air conditioner, whatever it is."
"I am very upset with it," her husband said.
The Public Utilities Commission is now considering allowing homeowners to have the smart meters removed.
Meanwhile, the Taorminas have formed a group called "We the People," which is asking for hearings that could change when and where smart meters are placed.
For now, the Taorminas get to keep their old meter. But that might not last – despite the warning signs they’ve posted at their home.
"We are deeply troubled by anyone who would pull a gun on another person performing their job," a CenterPoint spokesperson said. "CenterPoint will be taking additional steps – including court actions – because what happened is dangerous, illegal and unwarranted."
The Taorminas and the group "We the People" plan to continue asking the PUC to not force people to use the new meters.