Salisbury’s Newer More Accurate Water Meters Means Water Bills are Going Up. Somebody’s Got to Pay for the Fibrant Debacle

Posted on August 18, 2016

Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney

♦ Last January Salisbury’s City Council approved $7.2 million dollars for a project to replace more than 19,000 water meters.  On Tuesday the city council okayed the city manager to approve purchase orders for $4,684,609.80 to Carolina Meter and Supply for small water meters and $535,943.40 to Consolidated Pipe and Supply Co. for large water meters for the Advance Metering Implementation Project.

Tuesday City Council voted to replace the city’s mechanical meters with electronic meters. Other than providing possible make work for Fibrant’s “shared employees”, there is a plan for this expensive madness.

Please understand this very important fact: mechanical meters “loosen up” over time and do not provide as accurate reading for the actual water used. Electronic meters, being more accurate, will no doubt increase some neighborhoods average water bill substantially.

Older neighborhoods (read poorer) with worn mechanical meters will see the largest increase in water bills (think the West End, Downtown, Country Club, and Fulton Heights) while newer neighborhoods like the Crescent will see less of an increase.

Think we’re making this up? Talk with folks in China Grove who suffered a town-wide conversion to electric meters. Information is that increases in water bills in older neighborhoods may be as much as 10% to 30% higher. Somebody’s got to pay for the Fibrant debacle. Rowan-Salisbury Utilities water has often been hailed as City Hall’s “cash cow”–now Ole Bossy’s coming back to the Barn.

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