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City changes water meter reading schedule

Many residents in the City of Cedar Springs will notice that this month’s water bill shows that it is an estimated reading. That is because the City will temporarily go to quarterly manual readings, with two months estimated and the third month being an actual reading, while they continue the process of upgrading all water meters in the City.

According to information from City Hall, some water meters have been in use for 50 years. The Department of Public Works has been replacing meters that become defective with the radio read style meters since 2014 as funding was available.  City council has approved $35,000 for the purchase of radio read meters each year, but there isn’t enough funding to keep up with the demand for the new style meters as the Rockwell meters age.

Currently the city has 742 Rockwell manual read meters and 236 Neptune radio read meters. It takes a DPW worker approximately 40 hours per month to read the manual meters and the new radio read meters take approximately 2 hours. 

Currently the Department of Public Works obtains actual reads for the nearly 1,000 homes and businesses in the city.  This change will generate an estimated bill for two months and an actual read will be taken on the third month. The savings generated by saving staff time would then be used to purchase new Neptune radio read meters.

Residents should not see a significant change in the price of their bill with this change. The estimate of water usage will be based on the usage for the same month 1 year ago. If the estimate is larger than your actual use you will receive a credit on your third month. If your estimate is less than your actual usage you will be charged for the additional usage in the third month of the billing cycle.

This change will eventually bring an end for estimated bills and in turn allow the DPW to get actual meter reads in a fraction of the time it currently takes.  It is expected that by 2020 all meters will be replaced and will begin receiving actual read bills each month.

This change became effective Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

Water bills will still be sent MONTHLY and Payments will still be due on the seventh of each month and can be paid in person, online, or automatically through your bank account.

The new bill will clearly state when your bill was an estimate or an actual read.

Citizens concerned about this change can monitor their water usage each month. Residents can manually read all manual and radio read meters.

How to read your meter:

Locate your water meter (generally in the basement or crawl space closest to the road).

Record the number displayed on the meter. (New meters require a flashlight to activate the digital display. Shine a flashlight at the digital display for 3-5 seconds to activate the display.)

Example: May 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000220

In 30 days record the number displayed on the meter.

Example: June 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000224

Take the number that you most recently recorded and subtract it from the number that you recorded at the beginning of the month.

Example:

00000224 -00000220= 0000004

Water usage is billed for every 1,000 gallons used. This number never gets rounded up.

****Your number on your water meter will never go down. It is like the odometer on your car it will always go up showing you how many gallons have passed through since it was installed.*****

Example: Meter reading * 1,000 = gallons used since meter installation

8/16/2016 –  10*1,000 = 10,000 gallons used since installation

8/16/2017 – 224*1,000= 224,000  gallons used since installation

8/16/2018 – 1457*1,000= 1,457,000  gallons used since installation

For more information on the water bills, please visit: http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/hrf_faq/water/ 

Customers with specific concerns about their bill should contact the City’s Department of Public Works Director at 616-696-1330 Ext. 108.

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