(Wichita, KS) — Ever had a problem with your water bill before? Those days may be over, thanks to a new meter system in Wichita. The city is switching over to a fully automated system, which should make meters easier to read and more accurate.
When the temperatures go up, the Sloan family usually heads outdoors to cool down in the sprinklers.
"We are using a lot more water during the summer," said Wichitan Chenay Sloan. "Sometimes you wonder, because you can't always tell with the meter if it is an accurate reading or not. We have called a few times but at the end of the day we haven't had any major complaints."
The city hopes to eliminate any inaccurate water bills, by changing over to an automated meter system
"With the enhanced data we will be collecting, if they have a question about a leak we'll be able to show them very detailed information," said Wichita Public Works Director Alan King.
Instead of checking the meter by hand, city crews will now be able to drive by a meter and that information will automatically transmit into their computer.
The new system should save Wichita about $1 million each year in operating costs.
"And we are estimating about $3.5 million per year additional revenue from more accurate meters," King said.
When the city comes out to change the meter at your curb, service will be interrupted for a short period of time. Each resident will be notified by letter in advance, and a knock on the door when that change happens
So what do customers like Chenay Sloan think about the change over?
"We always want it to be as accurate as possible," Sloan said. "But, as the one who pays the bill, I hope it doesn't make my water bill go up any more."
That should depend on how much water the family uses.
About 50,000 meters in Wichita are already automated. It will take about five years to change over the rest.
The total cost of the project is just over $32 million. The money will be paid for through the city's capital improvements fund.The city is switching over to a fully automated system, which should make meters easier to read and more accurate.