New Equipment introduced for testing the accuracy of water meters
As the City’s water system district manager, Johnny Mitchell is in charge of the water meter shop, where thousands of San Diego Water meters have been tested by hand.
Now thanks to a new and newly installed $400,000 meter testing system called Mars 3. The testing is largely done digitally, allowing for more precision and more accuracy.
Tom Howard, a Public Utilities Deputy Director, whose department has been under fire joined Mitchell in the demonstration. Howard was on hand to talk about the larger issue of meter accuracy as it relates to the new equipment and several months of controversy. The sudden skyrocketing of water bills, leading to a number of community meetings with angry residents and bill adjustments or the promise of, at those meetings.
Human error was cited for at least one of the reasons for the spike, a now former employee says the city misread 343 meters. As the city installs a whole new smart meter system, 90,000 so far, the meters themselves, old and new, have been an issue.
The Mars 3 equipment was in hand before the controversy, but Howard says its one of every five new AMI meters being tested by the new equipment before it goes out to a home or business. Howard also emphasized that not only is the old meter scrapped, but so is any meter that is the subject of a customer complaint.