I think these devices are in our neighborhood because I no longer see any "meter readers" coming around to check monthly prior to the issuance of the bill. Ours are basically underground, in a "boot" which surrounds the device and has a lockable cover even with ground level. When the cover is installed and locked properly, it is flush with the lawn and does not obstruct walking or mowing the lawn.
From what you describe, it sounds like the water company said that the "added" $135.00 was as a result of water usage. Also, I think rather than "a damaged Radio Read Meter Transceiver Unit (MXU) that was placed on the property," you mean that the MXU was supposedly installed UNdamaged, but that the Water Dept was contending that the homeowner damaged it with the express intent of getting free water.
I don't know anyone who has had this problem, but if it were me I'd go down there and raise hell with those people in person. If necessary, I'd work my may up the city hall "chain of command" until I got some satisfaction. Usually - "honesty" comes through in these situations and your neighbor probably has to convince somebody that they had nothing to do with the MXU damage. Hopefully they will dismiss the $135.00 charge.
Seb thanks for the feed-back. However, the property owner was accused of damaging the actual devise and was billed for the cost of the meter! They stated the (MXU) devise was damaged. They were billed for their regular monthly water usage and charged an additional 135.00 on top of that. You may not realize it but there is a black rubber devise on the top of your water meter it is the sensor-it does not blend in with the grass/yard. I've attached a picture for your review.
Oh, I see.....yes - that's exactly what I have. The rubber device is at one end of the "lid," and the opening for the locking mechanism is on the other. I also re-read your basic blog post and now I get it. Does your neighbor's MXU show the damage (i.e., is the rubber sensor obviously damaged)? If so there may be some way to investigate further and determine the actual cause. If there is no evidence of damage and the sensor is just faulty, they shouldn't be billing the homeowner for that. I would think that the owner could argue "wear and tear" and be absolved of the charge.
Anyway - good luck to them. If the neighbor has no idea of how the damage occurred, I'd still recommend going down there and arguing this face-to-face with somebody who can make it right. You're blog doesn't say whether the neighbor has paid the bill. I wouldn't before I went down there and made my case.
This kind of corruption and thats what I call it or maybe some would like extortion better. Is excatly what I dislike about our current governments. Its wrong on so many levels.
they could also argue it was improperly installed. it is suppose to be installed on the inside of the meter box to protect it, not on top where it has no protection.
The picture is actually the way all of the smart-sensor-meters I've seen are installed. When you turn the lid upside down, there are wires/connections and a support structure that projects downward, so I don't think there is any way they could install it other than the way they have. The top of the sensor really is nearly at ground level - my "lowest" lawn mower setting doesn't even allow the frame of the mower to touch the top of the sensor - let alone the blades or anything that could cause any real damage.
The rubber "plug" you see is supposed to provide the protection, and we've had ours and have been walking/mowing on top of it for several years without any issues. My hunch is that absent any visible damage to PN's neighbor's sensor, it's gone defective and could be argued that way. If there is visible damage, if it were me I'd think about what possible alternative scenarios could have caused the damage (as opposed to ME doing it).
Thanks, Jimmy. As Tennessee Ernie Ford sang back in the '50s:
"Another day older and deeper in debt."
(Not really (the debt part), but OBAMACARE ain't helpin' matters any...)
Yes, I remember the song Sebe.
Some more of the other lyrics went like this: "St. Peter, don't ya call me cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the Company store." The store Tennessee was referring to was the one the Republicans owned. Squeezing every dollar they could get from men working their fingers to the bone for very little monetary compensation.
All done while the Republican owners reveled in caviar and champagne.
The Company Store made fist over hand profits galore. All done on the backs of the poverty stricken. Much like Wal-Mart does now.