Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Elyria 67°

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Elyria water bills might be a little late


ELYRIA — City water customers are being asked for their patience as upcoming water bills may arrive behind schedule as crews continue a $6 million project to replace more than 22,000 residential and commercial water meters in the city.

In areas where the Neptune Equipment Co., or NECO, is installing meters, the billing cycle will be “slightly delayed,” Mayor Holly Brinda and Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said.

“We wanted to err on the side of caution” and get the word out to city water customers ahead of time, Siwierka said.

NECO’s work should be completed within the next 18 months to two years, she said. The new meters are required for all city residences and businesses, and crews are replacing meters at a rate of 100 or more per day.

The new meters will give more accurate readouts of water usage and transmit data via radio waves, Siwierka said.

What will take additional time is reconciling the old and new readings with each other, which is putting billing 14 to 16 days behind, Siwierka said. The work is taking more time as some numbers are being double- and triple-checked, with the holidays causing additional delays.

The city won’t be going after anyone for late payment due to the installation delays, Siwierka said. Customers “still will have the same number of days to pay” their bills from the date of receipt, she said.

NECO is replacing meters that are more than 20 years old and not always accurate, city officials have said. The new system will provide accurate, consistent billing; eliminate estimated water usage reports; identify leaks and water main breaks in real time; and reduce or totally eliminate the need for on-site, in-person readings.

It’s all “more accurate, more timely and non-intrusive,” Brinda said.

Previously, the city leaked both water and revenue from water sales, billing for much more water than was pumped and experiencing more than 25 percent “water loss.” A typical water loss percentage and industry standard is closer to 15 percent, city officials said.

With the new system, “we can tell if there’s a problem you might not even know about,” Brinda said.

A map of the different zones scheduled for water meter replacement is online at www.cityofelyria.org.

If you wish to schedule an appointment to have your meter replaced, call (800) 624-6975, send an email to appointment@necowater.com or go online to www.necowater.com/schedule. An adult age 18 or older must be present during installation, which typically takes less than an hour, city officials said.

Questions also may be directed to the city of Elyria at (440) 326-1440.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @daveobrienCT.

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