Moree Plains Shire Council will start billing ratepayers for water again, after a 12 month delay caused by new smart meters being faulty.
In 2020, Council looked into smart water meter technology as part of the long-term water security strategy for the region to modernise the ageing infrastructure in place and allow customers to monitor in real-time their water consumption. Through an online portal, they can detect leaks and reduce consumption and encourage customers to better monitor their water use and promote efficient water use.
There were teething issues and unexpected challenges with the rollout with some commercial and residential water meters across the Shire needing replacement. Once the issues were identified, Council took steps for a replacement program to replace 2830 smart meters. Currently 222 smart water meters in the Shire still need to be replaced.
Moree Plains Shire Council says this is not an isolated issue, with other councils across Australia that have installed and implemented the smart water meters provided by Taggle Systems experiencing similar issues. The recently installed system in Tamworth is provided by the same company.
General Manager, Kelvin Tytherleigh, said Council recognised a bill for the 12-month period could cause some concern or hardship for certain ratepayers which is why they are offering interest free payment plans to anyone inconvenienced by the one off 12-month bill.
“Council wants all of our ratepayers to know we are ready to listen if they have concerns about the way their bills have been calculated, or if they simply need some extra time to pay them because they cover a longer than usual period of usage,” Mr Tytherleigh said.
“Council acknowledges the 12-month bills may be an unexpected larger expense and even a financial strain for some households, so we’re waiving all interest charges on the 2022/23 water usage notices until 30 June 2024.”
Mr Tytherleigh said ratepayers will receive their water notices in the mail over the coming weeks, with those who receive notices electronically having already been issued with them.
“Accompanying the water usage notices all ratepayers will receive a letter indicating the status of the new smart meter on their property and Council will once again resume sending out quarterly water usage notices from September 2023,” Mr Tytherleigh said.
“These new meters will be a great tool for ratepayers to measure and understand their water usage so they can reduce water wastage and save money – but anyone who might encounter issues paying this one off 12-month bill, or who is otherwise experiencing financial hardship, should please contact Council so we can discuss how we can help,” Mr Tytherleigh said.
Should ratepayers wish to know the status of their smart meter beforehand you are encouraged to head to Council’s website www.mpsc.nsw.gov.au where you can enter your assessment number (located on your bill) to determine the outcome of the smart water meter installed.
Any ratepayer seeking clarification are encouraged to contact Council (02)6757 3222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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