Audit Reveals Serious Problems With Parking Meters In Sacramento

CBS Sacramento

Audit Reveals Serious Problems With Parking Meters In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A scathing audit reveals Sacramento’s on-street parking meters have some serious problems.

The investigation comes after a huge surge in contested parking tickets, including more than 4,000 that were issued by mistake.

A new audit finds Sacramento’s high-tech parking meters are not as smart as they should be.

DETAILS:

  • In 2017, the city of Sacramento received 7,000 complaints of meters not working.
  • It’s taking 6 months for contested tickets to get fixed.
  • There are 4,500 smart on-street meters in Sacramento.

“With any type of technology, you’re going to have a margin of error,” said Sacramento City Parking Manager Matt Eierman.

ALSO: Parking Meter Not Working? New Law Means You Don’t Have To Pay

The city began installing the smart meters in 2014, and there are now more than 4,500 of them on the streets.

“We’re proud to have put all the accessible options for people to actually make payments by credit card to make payments by mobile phone,” said Eierman.

Last year, the meters were used more than 5 million times but an audit found the meters had multiple problems that led to tickets being wrongly written. Problems included: battery issues, problems recording payment through the Parkmobile app, and faulty vehicle sensors.

In 2017, the city received nearly 7,000 complaints about meters not working.

“The smart meters were not actually as we had intended them…they were missing recognizing the vehicle, registering the vehicle had left when the vehicle hadn’t,” said Sacramento City Auditor Jorge Oseguera.

ALSO: Man Accused Of Stealing 600 Parking Meters In Stockton

Radio problems between the meters and the Parkmobile app also led to many tickets.

“There really was a communication breakdown between the app and the parking meter,” said Eierman.

Adjustments have been made but, “it’s still going to be a possibility that it occurs but we’ve stopped that by having a secondary check in place,” said Eierman. That means parking officers now have to call dispatch and to see if an online payment has been made before writing a ticket.

“With all of these technologies, there’s going to be these unanticipated issues that are going to creep up. The key is how well does the city react once they’re made aware of those issues,” said Oseguera.

The audit also found it’s taking too long — about six months — for a contested ticket to get fixed. The city is hoping to purchase new handheld devices in the next six months so parking officers no longer have to call dispatch before writing tickets.

Audit Reveals Serious Problems With Parking Meters In Sacramento

 

State investor-owned utilities required to allow customers to opt-out of ‘smart meter’ installation

State investor-owned utilities required to allow customers to opt-out of ‘smart meter’ installation

Washington’s investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities will need to offer residential customers the ability to opt out of advanced meter or “smart meter” installation to address customer concerns about the new meters, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission said recently.

The commission also said that companies should allow opt-out customers to keep their existing meters, rather than requiring an immediate switch from analog to digital, non-communicative meters.

Critics say the smart meters don’t protect privacy and can cause health problems.

As moving to smart meters is underway in Washington in 2018, the commission will develop requirements for protecting consumer information as well as rule changes for company operations in upcoming workshops and rulemakings.

Recent federal legislation has supported the development of a modernized smart grid and has encouraged states and utilities to prepare for future energy demands. Smart meters gather customer usage data through two-way communication between the meter and a utility.

https://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/2018/04/27/state-investor-owned-utilities-required-to-allow-customers-to-opt-out-of-smart-meter-installation/