RIVER EDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Last week, CBS2 reported on a group of residents in Fair Lawn, New Jersey who were shocked to see their higher-than-expected water bills.
This week, residents in River Edge have similar complaints following the recent installation of new water meters.
One family’s bill from SUEZ Water was for a whopping $601, a far cry from their normal $30 a month.
“I opened it up and said ‘What the heck?’,” the Bergan County woman, who asked that her face not be on camera, told CBS2. “When you call SUEZ they tell you you have a leak, and I think we would know if we had a leak of 103,000 gallons.”
The resident says her home on Voorhis Avenue had a new meter installed in December. CBS2’s cameras were there when a Suez crew showed up to investigate a possible leak. The serviceman determined the new digital meter was indeed defective.
As a result, the water company says that particular homeowner won’t have to pay their water bill.
SUEZ says it installed roughly 2,500 new meters in the Bergen County borough and has about 1,000 more to go. The company is in the process of upgrading its roughly 202,000 meters throughout northern New Jersey from analogue ones to those with a digital interface that crews can read without going to a customer’s home.
“One hundred percent of our meters are tested by the manufacturer before they get to us,” SUEZ Director of Communications Billie Gallo told CBS2’s Jessica Borg. “This is where we randomly sample ten percent and test them ourselves.”
Gallo says customers will get more precise readings thanks to the new meters.
“They might find that their old meters were underestimating how much they were using,” she said. It’s a claim that residents in Fair Lawn took issue with last week. Fair Lawn is one of the few remaining boroughs that provides its own water services.
One resident saw her bill skyrocket to more than $1,000 in one quarter. It’s something Gallo says SUEZ works to rectify as soon as possible.
“Inconsistencies to occur and when they do, we conduct a full investigation,” she said.
Part of those investigations maye involve not only checking for leaks, but the meters themselves.
The deputy borough manager of Fair Lawn says each complaint about a water bill is thoroughly investigated, and adds that about 4,000 new meters have been installed so far.