(Originally published by The Toledo Blade on 1/1/2013)
Maumee early next year will begin installing thousands of new water meters that will be read remotely via radio signals and even will allow water customers to monitor use hourly.
“Every house, every business, everyone who receives the water supply will get one,” said Joe Camp, director of public service. “Essentially, the meters we have right now are not being produced right now and we are looking at new technology instead of manually going to the meters anymore. We are going to be capturing it all at once with collectors installed throughout the city.”
The 6,300 new meters cost $2.6 million, paid from the water and sanitary fund. The cost is not being passed on to the consumers, Mr. Camp said. But some people whose current meters “run slow” could receive higher bills.
“That was a goal that we did not want to increase any rates as part of this,” Mr. Camp said. “We know some meters are running slow right now so we are losing that water revenue. We did adjust the rate between our water and sewer and we lowered our sanitary [rate] and adjusted the water up so most [people] should see a 4 percent reduction in their utility bill just by adjusting the rates.”
Those new rates take effect today, the day that the city of Toledo’s rate increases 9 percent. Communities such as Maumee that buy water from Toledo add an up-charge for residents and businesses.
Maumee’s rate currently is $24.43 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Toledo’s rate shoots up another 9 percent on Jan. 1, 2014.
Maumee does not plan to lay off any employees because of the new meters, which do not require a visit by a meter-reader.
The city has five employees, an assistant supervisor, and supervisor in that division who also do system repairs.
The new meters and system to read the device were purchased from Mueller Systems of Cleveland, N.C.
A statement from the company said, “Its [Maumee’s] decision to implement the Mi.Net System was driven by its ability to help the city’s water department automate the collection of meter readings, provide customers with a better understanding of their water bills, and identify leaks that are responsible for losing treated water.”