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Smart meters are a dumb idea


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The city will soon begin replacing the existing analog water meters with electronic “smart” meters.

Proponents of these meters tout that they will provide a more accurate reading of actual water use. This will result in more revenue for the city through higher water bills. That all sounds great and how could anyone possibly be opposed to more revenue for the city and paying for what you actually use? But it is not accurate. There is more to the story.

First, these meters are very expensive. Installing an old-fashioned, metal-hinged, clockfaced, analog water meter is estimated to cost around $25 whereas the new smart meters may cost 10 to 20 times that amount. They are being placed in a hole in the ground and are powered by a sealed battery with an expected life of no more than 10 to 15 years. Proponents promise that the meters will not cost the city anything because the extra revenue, i.e. higher water bills, will cover the cost. What they don’t tell you is that long before they are paid for, it will be time to replace them.

Another of the big selling points of these meters is that meter readers will no longer be required to go door-to-door. This has the potential of reducing the city payroll with a smaller work force. In the private sector this may be true, but after all, this is the city, and we have already been “assured” that no one will lose their job. To the contrary, I can foresee the city paying to install a new customer billing system to interface with the wireless meters and adding new special technicians to service them. With a fair and accurate cost benefit analysis, these meters just do not make sense.

Attorneys general of Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan oppose smart meters because of their high installation costs and little or no benefit to consumers. Smart meters have not been saving consumers money as promised but have resulted in sky-rocketing utility bills and class-action lawsuits in Texas and California. I have not even mentioned the privacy and safety concerns with these meters. Bottom line, your water bills are going up and neither you nor the city are getting anything of value in return. Tell me again city leaders, how is that a good thing for anyone but the companies selling you the meters?

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Donald Daugherty

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