Mayor Announces Investigation into “Smart” Meter Water Billing Blunders, Re-hires Meter Readers

By B.N. Frank

Utility “Smart” Meters – electric, gas, and water – are expensive, unnecessary, and plagued with problems including measurement errors (see 1, 2).  In fact, a 2017 Dutch study revealed that “Smart” Meters can have errors between 30% and 582% (see 1, 2)!

Utility companies don’t publicize that though.  Instead they say things like “Smart” Meters are more accurate than analog meters and customers had actually been underpaying for years (see 1, 2).  Adding insult to injury, in many cases, customer rates are increased for their installation AND frequent replacement (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  In fact, research has determined that some low-income Americans are paying more for “Smart” Meters.  Now another municipality is investigating whether their “Smart” water meters are to blame for years of disputed bills.

From the Baltimore Brew:

Scott’s first action on the water billing problem – rehiring meter readers

Asked if faulty “smart meters” and other blunders are behind Baltimore’s broken water billing system, the administration says “we have to go issue by issue”

Above: Mayor Scott announces that Baltimore will not be privatizing the water meter shop or firing its 60 workers. (CharmTV)

Reversing a decision by his predecessor, Mayor Brandon Scott said today that Baltimore will not be laying off 60 water meter employees or outsourcing the operation to a third-party vendor.

Back in October, then-Council President Scott condemned Mayor Jack Young’s decision to lay off the employees as “a rushed plan to privatize a core function of DPW’s operation during a pandemic.”

Young said outsourcing meter work would increase the accuracy and timeliness of water bills that have drawn citizen complaints for years. Scott today said he will focus on overhauling operations at the shop and retraining workers.

“We will be investing in our employees and strengthening their knowledge and skill,” said Acting Public Works Director Matthew Garbark at a news conference outside the meter shop on Franklintown Road.

Garbark said the process will be handled by a task force headed by Stephen C. Stricklin, director of  the mayor’s office of project management.

The city never signed a five-year, $13 million contract that was arranged between Young and Itron, a West Coast utilities management company, leaving the employees “in limbo for four months,” as Scott put it.

“That’s not how we treat our city employees,” said Scott, as Antoinette Ryan-Johnson, president of the City Union of Baltimore (CUB), stood nearby.

The task force will be “high functioning, outcome oriented and data-driven,” Garbark promised.

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Many American legislators have taken action against “Smart” Meters for various reasons including cost (see 1, 2).  This includes current Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear who stopped deployment while he was Attorney General.

Research has determined that “Smart” Meters DO NOT SAVE meaningful amounts of energy.  Utility companies continue to defend them though because they are extremely profitable.  Original analog meters are one-way transmitting whereas “Smart” Meters are 2-way transmitting.  This feature also allows them to collect minute-by- minute usage data which they can analyze in order to market more products and services to customers.  Utilities can also sell this data to 3rd parties (see 1, 2).  This is sometimes referred to as “Surveillance Capitalism.”

Because they are 2-way transmitting, utility companies can also remotely turn off services and ration customer usage.

There have also been numerous reports about “Smart” Meters causing fires, explosions, malfunctioning and broken appliances, and health issues in people and animals (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).  Some utilities now allow customers to “opt out” because of all the complaints.

Warnings about “Smart” Meter cybersecurity risks continue to be reported as well (see 1, 2).  In December, more federal legislation was passed to address their vulnerability.

57% of American utility customers have “Smart” Meters and more are on the way despite all of the above.  Free online documentary – Take Back Your Power – reveals more “Smart” Meter craziness.  Opposition to these meters is worldwide. 

Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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