Everett may spend $3M to upgrade water meters

EVERETT — Staff is recommending the Everett City Council to award a $3 million contract for new water meters without accepting other bids.

This is because Arizona-based HD Supply is the only one that can provide the city with 12,500 Neptune water meters, which are the type of meters that fit Everett’s existing water meter system, spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

“We have half of our customers already on that water meter system,” Reardon said.

The city serves about 19,500 houses.

The council is scheduled to vote on a contract at the April 11 meeting.

The city is being required to install meters on homes that are currently billed a flat rate for water. That’s to comply with a state law passed in 2003. Among other things, the law mandates the use of water meters in all homes by 2017.

The effort should encourage people to save water, but it will cost the city’s utility department — and the ratepayers who fund it — at least $9.5 million.

City crews will do the work, which should save about $3 million from what it would have cost if the city contracted the work out.

They hope to install 25 to 50 meters a week starting this June. They plan to start on the north end of the city and work south. That means people on the south end of Everett may not get a meter until 2016.

Once the meters are installed, customers will have a grace period of a year during which they will continue to be billed a flat rate.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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