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New Water Meters Might Mean Bigger Bills for Raleigh Residents

Posted July 12, 2007

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— The city of Raleigh will replace thousands of water meters in order to get a more accurate reading. But that change means residents could see higher bills.

The City Council set the plan in motion this week. In the next year and a half, all 170,000 customers will get new meters. They also will get bills every month instead of bimonthly.

The new meters use radio waves that send a signal to laptop computers in city trucks.

“We don’t have to worry about the dogs. Even the bushes don’t worry us anymore,” said Bruce Shane, with Raleigh Field Operations.

Long term, officials said, the city will save money. Short term, customers might tell a different story.

“We will be able to read without adding additional staff for many, many years,” said Charles Langston, a meter operations superintendent.

When an old meter that might not be as efficient is swapped out for a new one, customers could see increases in their bills.

"Normally, those meters are reading about 80 to 85 percent of what they should be reading,” Langston said. “So when you put in a new meter, it’s going to be reading at 100 percent.”

Wake Forest residents like Launa McCamy buy their water from Raleigh. They were among the first to have the automatic readers.

“I looked back since the automated system in December,” McCamy said. “Our bill has always been between $90 or $93, where as before there could have been a $20 fluctuation.”

The system has about 40,000 automatic readers now. City officials said they'll be swapping out boxes in many of the downtown neighborhoods next.

58 Comments

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  • educgrad Jul 14, 2007

    just a way to get more money at the expense of the people

  • Karmageddon Jul 14, 2007

    These meters are a great idea. Since they'll have radio transmitters on them why not install software back at headquarters to monitor how much each house is using. Then water restrictions would be really easy. Every house could be alloted a certain amount of water per month. When they reach their monthly limit the rates should be increased substantially.

  • richard2 Jul 14, 2007

    New meters = higher bill. The n%o should follow this story for a couple of months and see how much more the city takes in. It might be intresting.

  • mindyourown Jul 13, 2007

    Yep, another way for them to go after every penny you have...

  • lolly Jul 13, 2007

    dmt1231 - infastructure was the topic that satrted the tax dollar discussion. WRAL may have cut off the original posts.

  • dws Jul 13, 2007

    So DayumKrazy1, are you saying that Raleigh is different from other municipalities? Other utilities give you options to choose from?

  • A1 Go Canes Jul 13, 2007

    City of Raleigh water and sewer is NOT paid for by your tax dollars! The fees charged for water and sewer usage that are paid by customers cover all the costs of maintaining and improving the current system. Anything water or sewer related is paid for by those usage fees.
    The storm water fee is not a public utility fee; it is a public works (street dept.) fee that covers improving and maintaining the storm water system. It still is not a tax, but the way it is figured seems off to me (basically they charge you on the amount of impermeable surface area your property contains, but do they discount for when it doesn't rain??). However I cannot afford to live in Raleigh and I don't pay that fee.
    You can disagree with me, but I actually work for the COR Public Utilities Dept.

  • DayumKrazy1 Jul 13, 2007

    bottom line is...if you use city water you will get a new meter and it will cause an adjustment in the cost of your water, and you can't say no or not pay otherwise NO WATER... gotta love a monopoly. just another way the city of raleigh is controling how water is distributed and you don't have a say period

  • ImJustSayin Jul 13, 2007

    I love my well and septic tank! Maybe it's just me but no "city" water I've ever tasted can compare...and I really like not having a bill for either of the above. Alas, I have noticed that a "zoning" sign has sprouted up on the propety line (the wrong side, of course, including my yard) so I suppose the town'll screw that up for me before too long.

  • lolly Jul 13, 2007

    Waterrox - tax money paid for every penny of the water infrastructure. Some percentage may have been federal, but every penny came from some taxpayer's pocket. I do not know how long you have lived here, but in the past ten years, the City of Raleigh has added on fees at an ever increasing pace. Many long time residents were used to having services paid for via our taxes. Meeker and Allen have tripled some fees. Although folks such as yourself may enjoy the fees and restrictions, some long time residents have other opinions. I am exiting the forum now, so the water nazis can start calling me names all they like.

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