For the past 22 years, Black Hills Energy has been reading the water meters for Newton WaterWorks. That will change next year, however, as Black Hills has said it can no longer read the WaterWorks meters. That means Newton is now looking for some alternatives.
L.D. Palmer, Newton WaterWorks director, said there are a couple of technologies available for reading meters, including towers which would collect information from the meters, or by driving vehicles through the neighborhoods.
A long-term solution would probably involve changing out the old meters over a 10-year period as they become outdated, changing out 3,000 to 4, 000 meters over a five-year period.
In the short-term, the WaterWorks is looking at hiring a meter-reading service. Palmer said they are currently working on a deal with a service in Grundy Center to read meters at a cost of 78.7 cents per meter, for a charge of $64,000 per month. The WaterWorks hopes that the cost of reading the meters can be absorbed in the normal water rates, so that customers won’t see an increase in rates.
John Jennings can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.