By B.N. Frank
Opposition to utility “smart” meters (electric, gas, and water) has been ongoing in the U.S. and worldwide since utilities started deploying them over ten years ago. Utilities encourage and/or force consumers to accept these dangerous devices so they can remotely control utility use and collect consumer usage data 24/7 to sell and/or share with 3rd parties including police departments. Issues reported about “smart” meters have led to lawsuits (see 1, 2), a documentary film and countless news stories, including this recent one out of Ohio.
Toledoan says smart water meter installation cost him over $1,000
Landlord Andrew Jergenson was excited to get his new smart meter installed. But when a pipe burst during the installation, he was faced with a bill over $1,000.
Author: Michael Sandlin
TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo has been upgrading water meters the last few months, offering what city officials have claimed is a “no cost installation.”
But, south Toledo landlord Andrew Jergenson said had to pay over $1,000 after what he called a botched installation.
Jergenson owns a duplex on Airport Highway and said he is always looking for ways to improve. So when he first heard of Toledo’s smart water meter program, he was excited by what he read on the city’s flyer.
“It seemed like a really good idea because it said in the letter, ‘no expense to the owner.’ Well, it didn’t turn out that way,” he said.
Jergenson said the contractor the city had hired, Johnson Controls, came to install the meter last Wednesday. And while they were trying to clear out one of the pipes, Jergenson said they made a critical mistake.
“Something broke in the process,” he said. “They had to have the city come out and shut the water off and at that point, it just snowballed.”
Jergenson’s tenants were left without water.
Chris Flickinger, one of Jergenson’s residents, said he has kids and the lack of water made it “a bit of a hassle.”
When Jergenson reached out to the city and Johnson Controls to see who could fix the pipe, he was left with more questions than answers.
“They both basically put the blame on each other. And at that point, they said I had to pay for it,” said Jergenson.
WTOL 11 reached out to the city of Toledo, which responded with a statement:
“[Johnson Controls] contractors have completed close to 10,000 water meters with this being the only incident on the private side line. The plumbing professionals are trained union plumbers who take care to perform work without damage to private infrastructure.
Unfortunately, incidents like this might occur over the course of completing all of the meter changes.
Customers are always responsible for repairs and maintenance to their private lines. Neither [Toledo’s Department of Public Utilities or [Johnson Controls] (as its contractor) can take responsibility for the unknown conditions of private service lines.
In this instance, the installer followed standard procedures for operating a shut off valve. When operating the valve, the customer’s line broke and immediately began leaking. The issue wasn’t with the installer doing a simple valve operation, but with the private line coming from the shut off valve.
The City of Toledo and JCI share the same goal of doing complete and quality work.”
But with no one else to take the fall, Jergenson had no choice but to pay over $1,000 out of pocket to a third-party plumber to restore water for his tenants.
“Save up some money before you get this new meter because it could end up costing you if something goes wrong,” he said.
- 11 Investigates: How will Toledo’s new water meters avoid problem like Maumee’s?
- Lucas County considers multiple locations for new jail
Problems associated with “smart” meters include cybersecurity risks, billing errors and/or higher bills, harmful radiation emissions, mechanical issues, short life spans, as well as fires and explosions (see 1, 2, 3, 4). Adding insult to injury, costs associated with the installation and replacement of “smart” meters are often passed onto customers (see 1, 2) Because there have been so many complaints, some North American utilities offer “opt-out” programs for consumers who don’t want them.
Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other privacy invasive and unsafe technologies. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:
- Stop Smart Meters.org
- Smart Meter Harm
- Smart Grid Awareness
- Smart Meter Education Network
- Smart Meter News
- Take Back Your Power
- The People’s Initiative
- Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
- EMF Safety Network
- Environmental Health Trust
- Physicians for Safe Technology
- Wireless Information Network
Top image: Pixabay
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