Loves Park Water Department installs smart meters, confusion over cost

LOVES PARK, Ill (WIFR) -- Loves Park City Water Department is installing new smart meters. The cost of these meters met residents with confusion.

"I have no complaint about them putting it in," says Loves Park native Wayne Gustin. "My complaint was the fact that I got a letter that said we would get the meter at no charge."

The letter sent by the Water Department said the meter installation would not cost anything. Rock River Water Reclamation said they would cover the fee for the encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) which is the device that automatically reads the data.

They are covering the fee by charging homeowners just over $6 quarterly over the course of three years, totaling $76.

"It's not a huge amount of money," says Gustin. "It's just irritating we were not told the truth."

400 letters were sent before the City Water Department says they were informed of the charge to homeowners. They revised the rest of the letters sent to include the installation is free, but a fee will come from Rock River Water Reclamation.

Department manager Craig McDonald says the need for new meters is great.

"We can help catch leaks faster if people complain about high consumption we can show them exactly when water is being used," he says. "We can monitor monthly the amount of water being used, and if it's over what you normally would use in that month we can call you, and tell you your consumption is high to help keep costs down on your water bill."

New meters have never been installed since the city was established.