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DeKalb County to tackle water meter issues with new device | News

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DeKalb County to tackle water meter issues with new device

DUNWOODY, Ga. -- It almost became a competition between Atlanta and DeKalb homeowners -- who had the higher water bills?

Issues with electronic meters, false readings, estimated bills and spotty customer service meant chaos when it came time to pay them. While Atlanta moved to upgrade its systems, DeKalb lagged behind and the complaints soared. But now, thanks to 11Alive's Bill Liss, things are changing and the county may finally have the solution in a small unit.

Only 120,000 of them will get the new electronic transmitters over the next three years, while the remaining 70,000 will won't get the transmitters for another two years after that. So, if you have the old manual meter with the glass tops and the numbers within plain view, don't expect to see that relic disappear quickly.

But there is some good news for those stuck with the old meters. If the meter is giving you false readings and high bills, the county says it will get you to the front of the line. 

In all, DeKalb officials estimate it will cost $30 million for the upgrades.

"If you get a bad meter, we will replace it with a good meter with the latest technology in it," said Burke Brennan, DeKalb County Gov. "Once we have installed it, we will put a transmitter on top of it so it will be in continual contact with receivers and there will be a constant monitoring."

On paper, this all sounds promising, but the proof will be if reactions to water bills like these in the past come to a stop.

"I was shocked," one DeKalb homeowner recalled. "My blood pressure went sky high!" 

"It was higher than the one before and we were not home for three weeks," another resident said.