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CorneliusNews.net: CMU To Replace 68,000 Potentially Faulty Wireless Water Meter Transmitters

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The Charlotte City Council on Monday night is expected to approve a contract to replace 68,000 potentially faulty wireless electronic transmitters on water meters across the county. At its dinner meeting this afternoon, the council also will get an update from Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities on efforts to fix problems with residential water meters. The utility said the manufacturer is paying to replace the transmitters, which send water-usage data by radio signals from water meters to meter-reading trucks. Malfunctioning transmitters can transmit usage figures that are too low or too high, CMU said an announcement Monday morning. Transmitter problems were discovered after the utility undertook a "customer service improvement plan" over the past year. New quality controls found that a certain model of electronic meter transmitters could fail. CMU said a bad batch of electronic components during a specific manufacturing period led to problems. Officials used serial numbers to identify the potentially faulty devices. The utility said it plans to mail notices to customers whose equipment is to be replaced. Replacements will begin Dec. 1 and run through April. As meters are changed, CMU said workers will compare and confirm that data transmitted to the billing system matches the mechanical reading on each water meter. Any discrepancy in customers' favor will adjusted, CMU said. The equipment changes come as CMU also tests new water meters in certain neighborhoods, including the Peninsula in Cornelius, River Run in Davidson, and Charlotte's Hidden Valley and Faires Farm neighborhoods. Installation of new meters began last May in River Run and in September in Cornelius. Problems with water meters surfaced in 2010, when residents in those and other neighborhoods reported unusual spikes in their water bills. The complaints prompted formation of a task force of citizens and local officials to investigate. The task force's final report in 2010 requested a variety of changes, including new water meters. Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities serves users in Charlotte, Cornelius, Huntersville, Davidson, Pineville, Matthews and Mint Hill, as well as unincorporated parts of Mecklenburg County. RELATED COVERAGE AND LINKS See related stories under the "water bills" tag on CorneliusNews.net CharMeck.org, information page on the Water Meter replacement pilot project. Nov. 28 City Council agenda, on CharMeck.org