Thelma Taormina, Houston Homeowner, Pulls Gun on a Utility Worker Installing Smart Meters
A Houston homeowner had been trying to keep her electric company from installing a "smart meter" at her house. So when a company worker showed up to put the new, digital meter into place, she pulled out the big guns -- literally.
Thelma Taormina said that the utility worker tried to force her out of the way so that he could install the smart meter on her property, so she pulled out a handgun, Houston's KHOU 11 News reported.
"He just kept pushing me away," Taormina, 55, told the station. "He saw it," she said of the weapon, "and went back the other way."
Taormina is licensed to carry a weapon, KHOU said. She has placed a sign on her fence (pictured at left) warning electric workers not to install a smart meter at her home.
She doesn't want the smart meter installed because it transmits electric usage wirelessly to the company, which she views as an invasion of privacy.
"Our constitution allows us not to have that kind of intrusion on our personal privacy," Taormina told KHOU. "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, Nick Taormina, added.
CenterPoint Energy, which has installed more than 2 million smart meters in the Houston area, said that it is considering legal action against Thelma Taormina over the incident.
"We are deeply troubled by anyone who would pull a gun on another person performing their job," a CenterPoint spokesperson told KHOU. "CenterPoint will be taking additional steps -- including court actions -- because what happened is dangerous, illegal and unwarranted."
The Public Utilities Commission of Texas, however, is considering letting homeowners remove the smart meters from their property.
The Taorminas have formed "We the People," a group calling for public hearings with the aim of changing the policy of installing smart meters on energy customers' properties.
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