The Lafayette City-Parish Council sided with efficiency, modernization and, yes, reason, on Tuesday night when it voted against allowing LUS customers to opt out of having smart meters installed on their homes and businesses next year. The new meters, which can be read remotely by the utility company, will be installed for electric and water service. The $23 million project is partially funded by a federal grant and LUS Director Terry Huval says the meters will pay for themselves within about six years due in large part to the utility company no longer having to pay meter readers to go out and manually read meters.

Several residents, notably led by a conservative activist group ominously named Acadiana Patriots and buttressed by sensationalistic Internet conspiracy theories, expressed health and privacy concerns over the new meters.

The council also declined to repeal the special law-enforcement fee levied against downtown bars, setting up a showdown in state district court with some bar owners who have refused to pay the fee for extra police patrols.

Read more in today’s Advocate and Daily Advertiser.

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