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News Opinion

Water meter boondoggle

Baltimore wants to replace our water meters with smart meters at a cost of $83.5 million ("City awards $83.5 million deal for water meters," Nov 7). I have lived in Baltimore County for 66 years and never had a faulty bill. Most of the reasons for this upgrade are cases of human error.

True, "smart" meters will likely eliminate much of the human error — at a cost of many jobs. The track record of Itron speaks for itself. Just ask Houston, where they are still trying to resolve problems 10 years after Itron upgraded their system. The winning bid came in $101 million less then the company's competitors. What have we missed? And why doesn't the city get insurance to correct any damage they do? I have no control over how this work is done, and there is no incentive for Itron workers to not damage my pipes.

So far, the city has increased our water and sewer rates 42 percent to rake in an additional $172 million per year but won't protect citizens' property from damages a contractor may cause. Comptroller Joan Pratt says she doesn't want any "surprises." Well, get ready for surprises for the next 10 years. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be justifying this boondoggle for years.

Dan Shannahan, Fullerton

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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