DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway says some residents are seeing inflated water bills, not because of the new electronic meters, but because of costs associated with last summer’s record high temperatures.
“This is one of the hottest summers ever, so we know that people used more water,” Holloway said. “People use more water when it’s hot. It took more water to water people’s lawns.”
Indeed, the DEP provided detailed water records showing Martin’s water usage last summer spiked significantly in the early morning hours when his sprinkler system was on.
The City also cited water consumption data showing, aside from last summer, New Yorkers haven’t been using more water since the wireless meter installation began.
“Bills are not going up because wireless meters are being installed,” Holloway said.
Still, there is a stubborn perception the radio transmitters might somehow be more prone to errors. After a wireless transmitter was installed in Kay MacDermott’s basement, the retired assistant district attorney noticed the City began billing her for sewer use – even though her home is connected to a private septic tank.
Over the last four years, city water rates have jumped by more than 50 percent and the DEP is forecasting another significant increase in water prices this year. Officials suggested residents who are complaining about the new meters might be erroneously blaming the new technology, when the real culprit behind inflated bills is higher water rates.