Flat rates for water a thing of the past in Chicago


Richard Meeusen,
President & CEO,
Badger Meter
Chicago, IL, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 13, 2007 – Up to 350,000 households in Chicago pay a flat rate for water, based on lot size, number of bathrooms and hose connections – but this will change now that the city has signed a contract with Badger Meter Inc. for the provision of meters that can be read remotely.

The project, which is expected to take three years to complete, calls for retrofitting Badger Meter’s Orion system onto 80,000 existing residential and commercial water meters, which are installed in businesses and newer homes, and providing new meters with the Orion system at a further 82,000 customer premises. The meters will be read using a drive-by system with RF communications. Shipments are expected to start later in the year.

Mayor Daley was the driving force behind the decision to move away from the flat rate system. The city administration will evaluate and fine-tune the new system, and will then start to roll out new meters to all the remaining households presently without them. City officials expect that a rate increase will be necessary to fund the provision of the new meters, but point out that once they have been installed customers will only pay for what they use. They will therefore be able to control their consumption, and may even see a reduction in their water bills once the meters have been installed.