It’s not the most exciting issue in the world, but for the elected officials who gathered on the steps of City Hall this afternoon, the accuracy of the city’s new water meter readers is a big deal. The City Council Members said they are fielding many complaints from constituents who are struggling to pay suddenly surging water bills since the new meter readers were installed.
“Obviously this is a huge issue for us in Queens County and throughout the city. We’ve had an enormous amount of complaints from people who had the automated meters put in,” Councilman Mark Weprin said. “We kept getting complaints from people who said they had nothing changed in their lives, they used the exact same amount of water over the years. Somehow the new meters were charging them double and sometimes triple … Something’s wrong here.”
Councilman David Greenfield, who organized today’s press conference, said the issue is so severe the Department of Environmental Protection needs an audit to root out broken meter readers and reimburse affected houses.
“I want to be clear. We always complain about water bills that are high, these are not usual water bills. These are the result of the city investing a quarter of a billion dollars of taxpayer money because they claimed we would have more accurate readings. And we are certain that in many cases, they’re not accurate,” he said. “So we’re calling for DEP to launch an investigation, to get to the bottom of this, to audit these water meter bills … We believe they will find that in thousands of cases they will find automated meter readers are broken. ”
Councilman Ruben Wills, echoing Mr. Greenfield’s call for an audit, was particularly forceful.
“This is ridiculous. We’re demanding a full audit, we don’t just want a pass-through, we want a full audit of every meter that has been installed, and we want the results released to the City Council now,” he announced.
Watch the press conference below: