When your quarterly water bill goes up a few thousand percent after the city installs a new meter at your house, you’d think the utilities folks would want to take a look at that meter because it’s either broken or your house is about to float away. But not in New York City, where it will cost you $180 just for the privilege of having that meter inspected by a human being.
CBS New York has the story of a city resident whose house was fitted with one of the new smart meters, and whose water bill soon jumped from a very manageable $62/quarter to more than $1,400.
“Am I paying a mortgage here?” she asks. “Because that’s what it sounds like me: I’m paying a mortgage. $1,400 to pay for water, come on.”
The city’s Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says his office has received hundreds of complaints since the city began installing the new meters.
“[I]t makes me very angry to think about a hard-working homeowner, who’s doing everything right, playing by the rules, and the city shows up with a huge additional bill,” he tells CBS. “There are so many New Yorkers who could not put together $180 to appeal their case.”
A rep for the city’s Dept. of Environmental Protection defends the meters, in spite of evidence to the contrary:
The new wireless meter readers are providing accurate data… In fact, [the DEP] has seen no significant change in the number of bill disputes since these transmitters started to be installed.