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Water meter program

Have a meter installed in 2012? Check your water use here

Have a question about the $300 meter bill? Click here for answers to common questions

Document Library

water meter news
AB 2572
(2004 water meter law)

Water meter
installation timeline

Sept. 29, 2004

AB 2572, mandating water meters in all California cities by 2025, signed into law. Law requires homes built since 1992 to have usage-based water billing by 2011.

May 2,
2007

City Council approves meter installation policy:
— Install within four years;
— Property owners pay for meters;
— Private contractor install for one year;
— Payment terms

2010

Property owners may hire a contractor for meter installation
Dec. 1, 2010 Deadline to submit Notice of Intent to Privately Contract postcard to the Program Administrator

Dec. 31, 2010

Deadline to complete installation (improvements must be accepted by City in January 2011)
2011 through 2017 City installation of water meters, new water mains

Need more information?
Contact: Public Works Dept.
Phone: (209) 333-6706
E-mail: pwdept@lodi.gov

State law and the City of Lodi's water meter plan

Since 1992, State law has required water meter installation as part of all new construction. In 2004, the Legislature passed AB 2572, requiring all water suppliers to install water meters on all customer connections by January 1, 2025.

The law requires all metered services billed at a metered rate, so that water bills reflect water consumption. The City of Lodi currently charges residential customers a flat rate based on the number of bedrooms in the dwelling.

Here are answers to some questions you may have about the City's water meter installation program:

Q: Why do we need to install and pay for water meters?
A: Because state law is requiring water systems to charge customers based on the amount of water they use. Thousands of Lodi property owners paid for their meters when their homes were built (especially all those since 1992), so they won't need to pay again.

Q: Will all properties receive a water meter under the Water Meter Program and when will the meters be installed?
A: The City will equip all municipal water service connections with a water meter before 2026, the state-mandated deadline. Lodi’s Water Meter Program will be installing a water meter at single-family detached homes, duplexes, triplexes and four-plex dwellings. Water meters will be installed by phase (seven phases are planned) starting in 2011 and are expected to conclude in 2017. View a map illustrating the installation schedule here.

Q: Who will be responsible for the water meter payment and when will the water meter payments begin?
A: Property owners will be responsible for paying $300 for their property’s water meter. A property owner will have the option of making either a lump sum payment (April 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011) or a monthly payment ($8.52/month) for three years starting July 2011. Property owners will either receive a unique water meter bill or have the meter payment bill included on their regular utility bill.  
Q: Will the City be offering any financial assistance for low income residents?
A: No. Federal funds initially identified as a source for grants are not feasible for this project.

Q: As part of a building permit I was required to pay a water meter deposit that exceeded the $300 and water service fee. Will the City reimburse me and when will my meter be installed?
A: Property owners who have paid for a meter, but whose meters have not been installed will have their meter installed during the respective meter installation phase. The City will reimburse eligible property owner the difference in their water meter deposit in excess of $300. The City will not be reimbursing property owner for the water service fee as that was a requirement of issuing the building permit. Eligible property owners will be receiving a letter in 2011 informing them of their eligibility.

Q: Will low-density multi-family structures (duplex, triplex, four-plex) be allowed to have each unit metered?
A: Yes, a property owner may elect to individually meter each unit.  A property owner would be required to obtain the necessary building and encroachment permits from the City to have an individual service connection for each unit.

Q: Who will be responsible for paying the water utility bill?
A: For a single-family detached home, the water utility bill would either be paid by the owner or can be the responsibility of the tenant renting the property. For low-density multi-family dwellings (duplex, triplex, four-plex) that are master metered, the property owner would be responsible for the water utility bill. If each unit is individually metered, the owner may elect to have the tenant assume responsibility of the water utility bill.

Q: Who will be responsible for paying the balance of my water meter payment if the property is sold?
A: The property owner would be responsible for pay the balance of the water meter prior to having his or her water service account closed or transferred to another property.

Q: How do I know if I will be charged for a meter, and how much it will cost?
A: If your house was built after 1992, the City may already have collected a charge for a meter and the plumbing service probably is compatible with a meter. For these homes, there will be no installation charge. For homes built prior to 1992, the property owner will be charged $300 for a water meter. Property owners received a letter in spring 2011 notifying them if the charge applies.

Q: What does it mean to "upgrade" my water service?
A: Upgrading service means modifying the outdoor water service line to include connections for a meter that will be placed in a utility box. There are approximately 11,000 water services in Lodi that need upgrading, most of them on homes built before 1979.

Q: How do I know if I need to upgrade my water service?
A: Look near your sidewalk, back fence or alley. If you have a round cast-iron valve box approximately 5 inches in diameter, your service will need upgrading. If you have a concrete cover or steel lid to a rectangular concrete box approximately 25 inches by 16 inches, your service is probably meter-ready.

Q: Can I arrange for my own installation?
A: Not any more. The City provided an opportunity for the meter to be installed by a plumbing contractor in 2010, but that program has ended to allow the City to bid a precise number of properties for meter installations. Residents will find the cost of the City installation to be less expensive than what a private contractor can do for a single job.

Q: My house has a meter box that is configured to have a meter installed, but currently does not have a meter. Why won’t the City let me install it myself?
A: Because the City’s water system is minimally chlorinated, it is susceptible to contamination if a meter is not properly disinfected prior to going on-line.

Q: This is a water meter program. Why are the water main lines being upgraded?
A: The water utility collects money to repair, replace, and make improvements to the City’s water service infrastructure in an effort to ensure reliability.  Currently, there are many miles of mainline pipe that need replacing and/or are undersized.  The City will abandon and relocate these pipes into the streets fronting the residence. This work will occur concurrently with the meter program to minimize disturbance on Lodi's residents.

Q: Currently, some residences have water meters and are receiving usage-based bills. The remaining residences will have water meters installed in phases over the next seven years.  It seems unfair that some residents will be billed on a flat-rate while others are charged on a usage base. Why not start billing everyone based on usage at one time?
A: State law requires residences constructed after 1992 to be billed on a usage-based system by January 2011. The Lodi City Council is aware that two different water billing structures will occur for a period of time.  Therefore, the Council chose to minimize the time period that the two billing structures would occur.

Q: As part of a building permit, the City charged a water service and meter fee to upgrade my water service to comply with City standards. The Water Meter Program will be relocating the mainline servicing my house. Will I be required to pay for the new service connection?
A: No. Your building permit fee to upgrade the water service connection constitutes you as "pre-paid." You will not be charged again.

Q: Will the water meters be equipped to be remotely read?
A: Yes, the City is equipping the water meters with the capability of being remotely read with a drive-by or walk-by device. The water meters and electric meters will ultimately transmit their readings to a centralized computer.

Q: Will my water bill go up?
A: That depends on your current rate –based on the number of bedrooms in your home – and how much water you use. The cost of supplying water is not changing, so the City needs to collect the same amount of money to properly operate the system as it does now. To help people understand how much water they use, and how much that will cost, the City will phase in consumption-based bills. Residents will know how much water they use, and the equivalent usage-based cost, for several months before the metered rate takes effect. If you have a meter, you can view your past water use at www.lodi.gov/water/watercompare.asp. A sample of this page is provided here.

water meterQ: Will I be able to read my meter?
A: Yes. The meters will have dials similar to odometers on older automobiles. Also, the meters will have leak detectors that will show if water is flowing to your home even with all plumbing fixtures shut off. For billing purposes, meters will be read electronically.

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