Listener: Abilene “smart” water meters a never ending expenditure program

Robert,

I was driving in from work and heard your commentary on our Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna’s announcement about the water meter upgrade not costing the citizens of Abilene.

There is so much more to the roll-out of a centralized meter control system than non-technical person realizes.

It will start with their campaign of its simplicity of flow monitoring which has no useful purpose without back-office servers to collect the data and interface with the new billing system which haven’t even addressed yet.

It will be a huge expansion of municipal data center operations that will cost millions of taxpayer dollars to roll out.

You and I know it will cost millions over the next 10 years to implement.

Just watch, they will install all of the new meter control devices in some phase of the project, then come back with a new requisition request that the meters that have been installed need to be upgraded to a newer version due to technological improvements over the original purchased.

This will be another never ending project that will cost the citizens of Abilene millions of dollars on the front end, back end, and forever.

Hanna is a municipal progressive who will spend as much money as he can get his hands on to advance his career and progressive objectives for the rest of his working life.

I would describe this a outright stealing from the public. I know it is and I wonder when people will wake up and say enough is enough. The COA has POT HOLES to fill for the next 10 years.

Like Ross Perot said, “You can hear the sucking sound!”

Best Regards,

John

Comments

  1. Pratt on Texas says:

    I generally agree but differ on this point: “It will be a huge expansion of municipal data center operations that will cost millions of taxpayer dollars to roll out.” My guess is that this component will be a wash or even a savings given that there is already a big expense taking current analog readings and getting such into the system and out as bills.

    This is the most perceptive thing that fits with everything else that moves to digital: “Just watch, they will install all of the new meter control devices in some phase of the project, then come back with a new requisition request that the meters that have been installed need to be upgraded to a newer version due to technological improvements over the original purchased.”

    • Stan Thomas says:

      I was on a board for a rural water system that covered 2 counties. We could not make these meters work economically. We just broke it down to each meter. How much did it cost us to get it read and how long would the cost of the new meter pay for that service, which we paid a separate group for. The new meter would not cover the expected life of the electronics in that meter in reading costs. If it will not work for a rural water district, it cannot be economical for a city. I suspect that in the future they will want to charge you more for water at certain times of the day, or fine you for using too much water at certain times of the day or week.

      • Pratt on Texas says:

        Stan, I am so very pleased (and shocked) that someone did a standard return-on-investment (ROI) look. Such is standard in private enterprise but shockingly rare in government. Why? Well why worry when you are spending other people’s money and can simply demand more when things go wrong.

  2. Of course, McAlister is going to tell us that we are wrong. The COA has to build this municipal bureaucracy. Got to keep that project pipe-line full so that they can justify more tax revenue.

What do you think?...

© Pratt on Texas / Perstruo Texas, Inc.