I really like my water meter. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I love my water meter. Not in the same way that I love my wife, or my kids, or my dogs, but close to it. Lately I have caught myself gazing at my water meter, I don’t take it for granted, like I did my electric meter. Yes, I am one of those folks who didn’t give my electric meter a second thought. I just took it for granted. It was there, it worked, it was accurate. I received a bill, and paid it, simple as that.
I knew there was talk of taking my electric meter and replacing it with a smart meter. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. Then one day, while I was organizing my paper clips by size and color, the doorbell rang, and it was a guy in an orange vest saying he needed to install a new electric (smart) meter. Parked curbside was a Naperville police car. I went to the back of my home to unlock the fence for the installer, as two of Naperville’s finest escorted the installer. I offered each police officer a bottle of water, but they declined. I think they wanted their hands free in case pandemonium erupted. I could tell they didn’t want to be there and why would they, they were trained for mayhem, chaos, and fisticuffs, none of which was about to occur. The installer didn’t want to be there, and I didn’t want to be there; my paper clips were waiting. In no time they were done, and I was left with the dreaded smart meter. All I could hope for was that John Johnny Krummen was right and I would see a savings on my electric bill. It never happened. Rates skyrocketed.
Now city officials want to replace our current water meters, with new ones. City officials say they are not smart meters, but the company doing the installation, HBK Water Meter Service, Inc. in Rolling Meadows say they are definitely smart meters. Looks like somebody, the City or HBK is spreading fake news. Hmmm…I wonder which.
The City says the current meters under register water usage by about 4%. If city officials say it, it must be true, right? I’m sure they must be able to shuffle some numbers around to show a 4% loss, guaranteeing at least a 4% increase to water bills. If residents says they do not want the new meters because it’s reading properly, the City can counter that by saying, “Well, if the meter is accurate, then there must be a water leak on your property, hence be prepared to spend thousands to prove there is no leak.” All of a sudden, a guaranteed 4% increase looks pretty good.
City officials say they are replacing 3,000 meters per year, with a total of 43,000 needing replacement. The saving grace is that I may be the last house getting a replacement meter, which means I have 14 more years to love my water meter even more than I do now. Considering my age, by that time, I may not even remember that I have a water meter.
Water meters are mechanical and wear down over time. They need to be replaced at some point. This next generation of meter that has fewer — or no — moving parts. And yes, some manufacturers call these “smart meters” — I’m sure you can understand why the City might avoid this. Fake news doesn’t apply here, Bob.
The older, mechanical meters rely on moving parts to spin to measure water usage. Over time, due to calcification and other factors, they just don’t spin as efficiently and measure water accurately — especially in low flow situations. The new meters, like those the City is installing, do not have moving parts, will be more accurate and last longer.
Controlling leakage in the entire system is a prudent move by the City as overall the City would ultimately be able to pump water more efficiently — which benefits all of us.