MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — CBS 2 has gotten action following a report on no-show fines levied against Long Island homeowners by National Grid.
AS CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some Long Island homeowners had seen an extra charge tacked onto their bills because they were not home when a worker showed up to read the meter.
Some homeowners have since contacted CBS 2 to say the story last week made a difference, and the utility is installing new meters.
But not everyone is satisfied.
The Ferreira family of Mineola blasted their utility for its inability to read the gas meter from outside their home. Since John Ferreira and his wife work all day, it was nearly impossible to take time off to wait for a meter in their basement when they scheduled an appointment.
“One o’clock to 7 o’clock at night — the guy never showed up,” Ferreira said.
The Ferreiras said they were fined $25 four different times.
When they took their complaints to National Grid, the company suggested homeowners read their own meters and phone in the numbers. When the Ferreiras and others said that process was not working for them, National Grid asked for patience.
The utility said it is in the process of installing new automated wireless meters over the next year. Ferreira said the new meters can be read from the street driving by.
The Ferreiras were shocked to get their new meter installed almost immediately after CBS 2 highlighted their grievance.
But the Kivatiskys of Williston Park are still waiting for a new meter.
“They are supposed to come on Sunday to change the meter. I will believe it when I see it,” Trish Kivatisky said. “I am still ridiculously upset about the fines.”
They want the fines forgiven. Like the Ferreiras, the Kivatiskys were penalized for not being home when the meter reader needed scheduled access.
Meanwhile, unlike gas, the Suffolk County Water Authority has been able to read meters remotely for years. But suddenly, many of the customers have begun complaining about inaccuracies in their water bill numbers – with bills tripling.
“They had me go down the basement turn off the meter, see if the little red gizmo was moving — and at this point, I was so flustered,” said Nancy Galano of Stony Brook.
The Galanos said they were being charged for 82,000 extra gallons, and were told to check for leaks in pipes and sprinklers. They found none.
But the Galano said the Suffolk Water Authority had told her, “get a plumber; pay for it myself.”
If a licensed professional finds no leaks, the Suffolk Water Authority will then make house call to make sure meters are properly installed.
Both National Grid and the Suffolk Water Authority said meter readers and installers will wear badges and arrive in marked company cars when they service homes on Long Island.
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