BROOKLYN — Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Midwood/Borough Park) was joined on the steps of City Hall recently by six of his City Council colleagues and New York City water customers to demand an immediate investigation into issues with water bills caused by inaccuracies involving recently installed automated meter readers (AMRs).
In some cases, customers have received bills that are two or three times higher than they were before the city began installing these AMRs in 2009 as part of a $250 million project. Other cities that recently installed AMRs have experienced major problems with the technology, leading to massive audits and some customer refunds.
Greenfield, his council colleagues and impacted customers are asking the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to immediately conduct an investigation into the meters and questionable bills and to thoroughly explain billing spikes and irregularities to customers.
“The complaints I have been hearing from residents and business owners regarding their water bills are shocking and need to be investigated immediately. We need to be sure that this technology is reliable and that customers are not being overcharged. I urge the DEP to take these matters into consideration,” said Greenfield.
“The DEP must immediately identify the cause of the overbillings and suspend billing and collection until the problems are corrected. Our community’s homeowners and businesses simply can’t afford to pay for the city’s mistakes anymore,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie/Mill Basin).
“Ever since the digital water meters were installed, we’ve received calls from constituents whose water bills suddenly skyrocketed for absolutely no reason. There needs to be some sort of recourse for these people to fight the bills they feel are unfounded. Taxpayers have a right to question these charges,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge).
“These meters are unquestionably producing suspect readings that need to be investigated immediately. Like many of my neighbors, the new bills show my family using water in amounts far in excess of what is actually taking place in our home, and the city urgently needs to get to the bottom of this situation. In addition, the process to determine if we had a leak was frustrating and onerous,” said Kensington resident Mordechai Lev, who was overbilled by approximately 400 percent after his new meter was installed.