From Douglaston Patch:
First it was the EZ-Pass, then the local gas pump. Now radio frequency identification technology is being used by water meter readers throughout northeastern Queens, eliminating the need for home visits by city employees.
But many area residents like Eliott Socci of Douglaston are reporting higher water bills — in some cases, triple that of previous pay periods — which they believe is the result of a recent switchover from traditional to electronic water usage meters.
"I’m telling people to save their bills. Unless this is their way of paying for meters they just put in, it’s not logical," Socci said, who said he first took notice of a spike in his residence's water usage in early October.
Socci claimed that he was billed twice during the period spanning October into November, speculating that The Water Board failed to "close off" his old meter while simultaneously charging him based on usage from its electronic equivalent.
"Newly installed wireless water meter readers do not cause duplicate reads, they simply transmit accurate data ... so that it can be viewed online instead of having to send workers to visually obtain a meter read in person," said a spokesman for the city Department of Environment Protection in response to Socci's allegation of over-billing.
However, Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), slammed the DEP's practice of considering complaints on a case-by-case basis, instead calling for public hearings on reports of ballooning water bills throughout the city.