CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Division of Water will soon begin installing new automated water meters in the homes of its 1.5 million customers, in an effort to improve water bill accuracy.
The effort is part of the water department's "Clear Reads Project," and involves the installation of a wireless meter reading system. The system will allow the water department to get accurate readings every hour from its 420,000 accounts, by using meters that broadcast readings through a radio signal.
The system will virtually eliminate estimated bills, and better ensure customers are billed for water they actually use.
Director of the Department of Utilities, Barry Withers, told NewsChannel5 the new automated meter reading system (ARM) will also proactively notify customers when there is a leak in their water system.
"There is a period every day when most customers don't use any water," said Withers. "The automated meter reading system gives us the resources to identify these times, detect unusual patterns of consumption and notify the customer of potential issues."
The new system will allow meter readers to monitor meters using wireless receivers and a series of repeating transmitters,
The new ARM system is already being installed in northeast Ohio businesses, with residential installations to start this simmer.
The Cleveland Division of Water reminded customers participation in the "Clear Reads Project" is mandatory, but stressed the meter upgrade will be at no cost to consumers.
Residential customers will be notified approximately four weeks before installation of meter upgrades begin in their area. The notification will include specific information on how to schedule an appointment.
The NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter unit has received dozens of complaints about water bill accuracy problems at the Cleveland Division of Water since June 2009.
Since that time, the Cleveland Division of Water has made improvements in customer service, billing accuracy and in the collection of unpaid bills.
The $86 million automated meters system project will continue with installations through the end of 2013.
More information on water use and leak detection can be found on the water department's website: http://on.wews.com/JJwLsk