By B.N. Frank
Opposition to privacy invasive and unsafe utility “smart” meters – electric, gas, and water – has been increasing in the U.S. and worldwide for over a decade due to ongoing issues associated with them including
- billing errors and higher bills (see 1, 2, 3)
- cybersecurity risks, hacking and disconnection (see 1, 2)
- fires and explosions (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- installation mishaps (see 1, 2)
- harmful radiation emissions (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- mechanical problems
- privacy concerns and
- short lifespans
“Smart” meters are so controversial in the U.S. they even inspired a documentary film! In regard to installation mishaps, the City of Toledo recently approved millions to pay for repairs needed after “smart” water meter installations. D’oh!
City of Toledo now covering valve issues during smart water meter installs after months of making residents pay out of pocket
Toledo City Council approved $5.6 million to fix people’s valves on Tuesday.
Author: Michael Sandlin
TOLEDO, Ohio — For months, the city of Toledo has been telling residents they need to pay for broken water valves that contractors encounter when installing the city’s new smart water meters. That has cost some people hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.
Then, Toledo City Council approved $5.6 million to fix people’s valves earlier this week, following months of WTOL 11 sharing stories of people who were charged for the mandatory replacement.
“It seemed like a really good idea because it said in the letter ‘no expense to the owner,'” Andrew Jergenson, who was charged around $1,000 after a burst pipe during his smart meter installation in November, said. “Well, it didn’t turn out that way.”
Brittni Riggs was told she had to pay for a broken valve in October. “The cost for replacement is anywhere from $350 to $800, but that’s emergency money. This isn’t an emergency. It’s something that’s not necessary,” Riggs said.
The city of Toledo time and time again said it was out of their hands and people needed to bite the bullet, or else their water would get shut off. But soon the problem began to balloon, so much so that city of Toledo water quality and sustainability chair and council member Nick Komives said as many as 10% of all installs done by contracted company JCI were running into valve issues and something had to be done.
“They knew that this was going to be a difficult task to accomplish in the timeline that we have if they don’t do something about it. So we talked to JCI about how to remedy this and JCI said ‘well we can’t do every valve, so we’ll need extra help to do that,'” Komives said.
However, Toledo’s Department of Transportation director Douglas Stephens, the man in charge of the project, which puts a wrinkle in that narrative. He wrote to WTOL 11 that “it was always the intent to replace and repair the valves when the meter replacement is occurring at no cost to our customers. During construction, the forecasted repairs increased on the project and the additional dollars approved will ensure the ability to make all the repairs necessary to meet our commitment to our customers.”
Regardless, the “help” Komives spoke of came from the passage of millions in additional funding from the council, but not every member is happy about it.
Toledo City Council member Cerssandra McPherson has voted “no” against every smart water meter proposal from 2020 onward. She said these are concerns the city should have been prepared for from the beginning and the promised benefits remain to be seen.
“We’ve got old pipes, old valves, old sewage lines. Old! When are citizens going to see the benefits of this? Because right now, it’s another expenditure,” McPherson said.
But Komives says the benefits will come, assuring once it’s complete that this truly will be the “utility of the future.”
He says the people who already paid for repairs on their own dime won’t be left behind.
“We’re talking about how we can remedy this, or make people whole moving forward,” Komives said. “We’re not trying to make a burden on anybody. So if you experienced that, I would encourage you to call Engage Toledo and we’ll put you on a list and we’ll see what we can do for folks.”
- Toledo City Council approves millions more dollars for water meter project
- Spotting fake representatives at your front door
- Some Toledoans frustrated by city’s smart water meter project
“Smart” meter proponents always say “the benefits will come” despite the countless articles, reports, research, and testimonials that have already revealed otherwise (see 1, 2, 3, 4). Nevertheless, utility providers continue to install them so they can remotely control and/or ration utility use (see 1, 2) and collect consumer usage data 24/7 to sell and/or share with 3rd parties (see 1, 2). For real! Adding insult to injury, many utilities have been providing dangerous digital meters to consumers who pay fees to “opt-out” instead of safer traditional analog meters. If you’re an American who wants your legislators to take action against “smart” meters as well as digital “opt-out” meters, Children’s Health Defense has made it easy for you to do so right now.
Activist Post reports regularly about “smart” meters and other privacy invasive and unsafe technologies. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:
- Children’s Health Defense
- Stop Smart Meters.org
- Smart Meter Harm
- Smart Meter Education Network
- Smart Grid Awareness
- Smart Meter News
- Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
- EMF Safety Network
- Take Back Your Power
- The People’s Initiative
- Environmental Health Trust
- Physicians for Safe Technology
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