The Ridgewood Village Council on Wednesday night did not discuss the Ridgewood Water rate hikes that for over 50,000 residents in its coverage area, but it did indicate it would likely have to shell out some cash for problematic, critical infrastructure.
David Schiebner, Business Director for Ridgewood Water, told the council its and it will need a service provider to read 7,000 meters. Village Manager Ken Gabbert said the service, which he hoped would be utilized for less than a year, would cost $1,500 per month.
The utility had been over-billing some ratepayers and undercharging others due to its inability to read from some phone systems as residents transfered to cable providers in recent years. The council to convert the entire system to radio meter readers but has been gradually phasing them in.
"Approximately a quarter of the meters have been converted to the radio system," Schiebner said. "Of the remaining 14,000 or so, about half of them were successfully reading through the telephone system but the server failed. So now there's 7,000 reads we were getting that we won't be getting unless we get this service."
"We evidently need this," Mayor Killion said resignedly, with Deputy Mayor Tom Riche noting he'd like a closer analysis of the costs.
"Moving on there has to be some kind of change," Killion added.
Councilman Steve Wellinghorst remarked that as technology and service providers change, the same problems of not being able to read meters might continue. "That's what I'm afraid of," he said.