Tough Questions: Residents frustrated with new smart meters - WNEM TV 5

Tough Questions: Residents frustrated with new smart meters

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

Scores of Mid-Michigan residents said they're not happy with the replacement of their water meters with new smart meters.

Bay City is going through the process of changing to the new meters, and it's costing some people hundreds of dollars.

"I've had numerous problems adding up to about $700 worth of plumbing problems," Julie Horsfield said.

She agreed to let the city install a smart meter in her home to replace an old one.  

It's part of a program to get 33,000 Bay City water customers on line with what the city claims is a more efficient way to read water meters. It transmits reads electronically.

The city admits changing the old meters over is causing problems due to the valves involved.

"A lot of the valves are old and outdated and once they're operated, at times, they can break," said Dave Harran, Public Works director. "Even if we weren't proceeding with this project, we're required to replace our water meters every 15 to 20 years, so if we weren't proceeding with this AMI project we'd still have to replace the meter out and we'd still have to turn on and off those valves. So if we weren't required to do that and they do break we do require the homeowner to replace them."

Meanwhile, Dependable Plumbing service said they've received numerous calls to replace broken valves. 

City officials said until the program is completed at the end of the year, broken valves will probably keep plumbers busy.

Meanwhile, Horsefield has a warning for homeowners.

"If your house is old and your pipes are old check them out before you allow them to come in and place the smart meters in," she said.

By moving to the smart meters, the city will eliminate four meter-reader positions, saving close to $350,000 a year.

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