Letter: Boondoggle now in Phase 2

Has anyone accounted for all these costs? How much will it cost to administer? What the actual final cost be? asks Jack Koochin.

Phase 2 of the universal water meter boondoggle is in progress… there were approximately 400 meters remaining to be installed. Here are a few things all residents and homeowners should know.

Were you aware that all homeowners could get a water meter installed WITHOUT the RF feature? Apparently this was an option available all along, but for some reason very, very few seem aware of it. You can see the info here now on the city website,  www.grandforks.ca/water-conservation/water-meter-information/, where it outlines three installation options: 1)in house, 2) outside on house, and 3) property line.

The following is an excerpt from Option 2: “This option utilizes the ProRead Encoder, which is a wall touch receptacle that is installed on the outside of the house. Water consumption is communicated by using a three-conductor bell wire connected from the meter (located in the house) to the touch receptacle. There are no RF’s emitted with this choice. There would be a cost of $25 for each reading. The number of readings per year has yet to be determined, and will be set by the Water Rates Committee once it is established.”

It’s a concern that meter installations were perhaps done without fair disclosure of all the facts… these options should have been very clearly communicated to all homeowners, for each and every installation. I spoke with an elderly homeowner today, who just had an indoor RF water meter installed; she told me she was not offered any options at all.

If you are concerned about RF radiation from the meters, and you were NOT clearly informed or aware of the non-RF option at time of installation, the city should offer to convert your RF meter to a non-RF meter at their expense. It’s the city’s responsibility to do this program openly and with full understanding on both sides. To do otherwise is reprehensible. Call or write in and insist on the conversion.

If you haven’t yet had a meter installed, it is your right to ask for option 2. For those with pit meters, it should be noted that the ProRead meter is available in a non-RF pit meter version as well; www.grandforks.ca/wp-content/uploads/ProRead-Encoder.pdf.

It appears the “push” is to get RF meters installed everywhere, despite all the protest and concern about RF radiation.

The costs of the program are mounting, and we haven’t seen the end of it yet. Millions will be wasted on this program. This system wasn’t in place before, so there will be new costs added to what we already had.

Has anyone accounted for all these costs? How much will it cost to administer? What the actual final cost of the system will be? Will they have to add staff to run this system?

Countless hours already invested by city staff, future maintenance of the system, computer system integration, software, wireless reading devices, manual meter reading, billing issues, and on and on it goes.

In a word, Boondoggle.

– Jack Koochin, Grand Forks