NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - St. John the Baptist Parish officials say relief is in sight for residents dealing with high water bills now that the parish has agreed on a new “state-of-the-art” water meter system.
Councilman Larry Snyder said the improvement is much needed, coming two years after the old system’s batteries expired.
“It’s a pretty good product. I think the people are going to appreciate it when they get it,” Snyder said. “We did so much work leading up to this, that’s why I 'm confident the administration on coming up with the right kind of specs for this. We had a lot of input from a lot of different people."
The current system’s batteries were only guaranteed to last for 10 years and once that decade was up, the meters started to malfunction.
For two years, faulty readings have led to inflated water bills for residents, Snyder said. Residents like Sandy Zeagler.
“It jumped from being $48, $50 dollars to being $200 or more, per month,” Sandy Zeagler said.
Zeagler’s not alone, fellow St. John resident Tellisha Steer also reported having inflated bills.
“I faced probably like $375,” Steer said. “I was shocked. I thought I had a leak. I thought, 'Did I forget to pay a bill?’”
According to Snyder, the new system and software will not only allow for more accurate readings, but those readings will be available real-time.
"I like the meter. It doesn’t have any moving parts,” Snyder said. “They’re going to be able to look at their bill and see what’s going on with their bill and see what’s going on with their bill, how much water they’re using and things like that, hourly. That way they can make some adjustments to their water bill.”
While residents like Steer are optimistic this new system will set her bills straight, others aren’t so sure.
“I’m not hopeful. I’m just going to wait and see, and if it gets to be too much for me I’ll have to sell my house and move,” Zeagler said.
According to parish officials, the construction phase will be broken down into six areas. The parish is still seeking bids for businesses to do the work but it’s supposed to begin in April and end in April 2020.