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Does the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority calibrate water meters?

Ken Little

If the meter is 3 inches or greater, it is tested annually and calibrated if necessary, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority spokeswoman Carey Disney Ricks said.

Customers with meters 2 inches or smaller can request an accuracy test, Ricks said.

There is a $50 charge for CFPUA to perform the test.

Q: Is the CFPUA required to calibrate its meters like other commercial ventures in North Carolina that charge by the gallon or pound.

A: “The Authority is not subject to any law requiring testing of meters because it has not been deemed necessary by any regulatory or authority agency,” Ricks said.

Meters 2 inches or smaller “are self-contained units calibrated at the factory with no operator adjustment available,” Ricks said.

Q: Can I ask for a meter calibration from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority? And if they overcharge for water, can we sue to get a rebate or reduction in price?

A: Ricks cited CFPUA Ordinance, Article II, Section 2.3: Tests:

“The Authority may at any time remove any meter for routine tests, repairs or replacement. The Authority shall upon request of a customer, test the accuracy of the meter in use, provided the meter has not been tested by the Authority within a period of three (3) months prior to such request, and that the customer will agree to abide by the results of such test in the adjustment of disputed charges. If the meter is shown to have an error as defined in this Article, the Authority will replace or correct the meter at no charge provided the meter is the property of the Authority. If the meter has no such error, the customer will pay a Meter Testing Charge.”

Ricks further cited Section 2.5: Error:

“Whenever a test of a meter reveals it to have an average error of more than 2 percent, the Authority shall render a bill for or give a credit for, as the case may be, such percentage of the amount reflected on bills covering the consumption indicated by the meter for the previous three months, as the meter was found to be in error at the time of test, unless it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Authority that the error found had existed for a greater or lesser period, in which case the adjustment shall cover such actual period.”

Ricks said that typically, water meters lose accuracy over time.

“Therefore, it is more likely for a customer to be undercharged based on usage; hence, (that is) why CFPUA has a meter replacement program to minimize lost revenue,” she said.

The American Water Works Association says meters are out of specification when they are 98 percent or less accurate.

Related links:

What is the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority?

Where does the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority get its drinking water?

Why doesn’t the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority have to get approval for rate increases from the N.C. Utilities Commission?

What are the salaries of the CFPUA board/administrators?

User-contributed question by:
Steve Clemmons

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