NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Have you gotten an unpleasant surprise after looking at your water bill recently? On Monday, New York City launched a new program designed to prevent that and save homeowners a lot of time, heartache and money.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Department of Environmental Protection introduced a leak notification program that would send an alert almost immediately after an unusual spike in water usage is detected.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks with more details on the leak notification program

The new system relies on radio transmitters that send readings to a city control tower every six hours instead of someone having to physically arrive at a location to take a meter reading every three months.

The technology was installed in parts of Queens by contractors last fall. Lisha Li, of Flushing, was among the first to testify about the benefits of the wireless meters when she was notified her home water usage had increased about 20 times.

“I said wow, since when? They said like maybe five days ago and immediately I asked them how much that would cost me extra. She said ‘probably $100 per day,'” Li told reporters including 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

Speaking from the Douglaston Pump Station on 67th Avenue in Queens, Mayor Bloomberg announced that homeowners would be able to sign up to get email alerts, phone calls or letters from DEP “when their water usage increases substantially from their normal consumption pattern.”

Li figures she saved about $10,000 by being notified and having a plumber fix the problem well ahead of the quarterly reading and bill.

The leak notification program will be limited to one, two, and three family homes.

SOUND-OFF: Do you think the new meters will alleviate high water bills?  Got an opinion on this story?  Let us know in the comments section…

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