- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - Wireless automatic water meters are coming to Lewiston after the City Council approved a contract for the equipment.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1PrJmVR ) that the Council on Monday unanimously approved a contract with Ferguson Enterprises, ending several years of discussion about the meters.

“This is going to allow people to have real-time access to their water usage,” Mayor Jim Kleeburg said.

The meters wirelessly transmit usage for billing purposes. Installation of the meters and infrastructure will begin in the next few months, and it is expected to take more than two years before every customer has a meter. The overall cost of the project is $2.9 million over 20 years.

The city’s public works director, Chris Davies, said customers will be able to call the city billing department to find out how much water they’re using. Davies said that an optional computer program allowing customers to go online to get the information themselves could be added in the future.

However, Davies noted, that costs an additional $90,000 and only about 5 to 10 percent of customers use it so it wasn’t included in the initial request.

Officials plan to install a radio tower north of the city and a repeater south of the city as the new system is installed. New computer software and hardware will also be put in place.

In the spring, officials said, about 100 meters will be installed around the city to test the system.

Davies said the city currently reads meters manually, and there will be a reduction of at least one city worker with the new system.

Critics of the meters have said they encroach on residents’ privacy.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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