Syabas declares war on meter thieves

Scrap metal dealers

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — (METERING.COM) — August 18, 2006 – Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), the Malaysian water authority, has officially declared war on local meter thieves in the Klang Valley by targeting local scrap dealers. Syabas is also examining the possibility of introducing alternative water meter methods such as pulse meter reading, AMR and prepayment meters, which are not as attractive to thieves.

According to a Syabas spokesman, the water meters contain brass and the rising cost of scrap metal means that the devices have become the target of thieves. On average 33 water meters have been stolen each day from January 2005 to March 2006 – the scrap metals are bought for around US$4 per kilogram.

Syabas is meeting with local authorities and residents to rally support for the campaign, whilst simultaneously visiting 74 scrap metal dealers around Shah Alam who could be embroiled in the meter theft chain.

Earlier the water authority had insisted that all water meters be installed outside property boundaries, to make it easier for meter readers to read them, but this relocation program had been suspended because of the rising incidence of theft. Syabas pointed out that customers will have to accept estimated bills if they are not available to allow meter readers on to the premises.

Syabas has been researching a plastic water meter, which is awaiting accreditation.