Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
After the city lost millions of dollars from unassessed water bills, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works will outsource water meter reading and small meter installation and maintenance in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
“Our customers deserve accurate and timely water bills,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in a statement. “The fact that this continues to be an issue even after we invested in automated meters means that we must take further action to address the problem. Outsourcing meter reading and small meter installation and maintenance to a vendor with a wealth of expertise in this area will not only increase revenue but also reduce operational costs creating savings for our customers.”
DPW has struggled to provide accurate and timely meter reading, even after the city spent $150 million to install automated meters.
Instead, the tasks of meter reading, installation and maintenance will fall to the contractor Itron, which already has experience with metering and the kind of technology used in Baltimore. Large meter installation and maintenance was already outsourced.
Young said he believes the move will improve meter reading, timely bill production and revenue while reducing operational costs. It’s believed the outsourcing will save around $10 million each year of the five-year contract. The savings will be used to provide additional assistance to city water customers.
The city will work with the 63 meter operations employees to be laid off to determine if there are other city jobs open to them. The contract with Itron does not require the company to hire them.