Chicago Meter Sentiment Growing
The sentiment in favor of universal meterage in the city of Chicago apparently is growing among the members of the city council. A campaign of education has been conducted by the agents of the Bureau of Public Efficiency in favor of the plan among the members of the board and the result has been that a decided change of sentiment has been noticed in many cases. One question which has been asked by the aldermen is: “Why not put the cost of the meters on the consumers?” Harris S. Keeley. director of the bureau, in replying to this question, says: “The opinion of practically all men who are experienced in the supply of water and the installation of meters is that it is the best policy for the city to own the meters. In Milwaukee the consumers own their meters and we understand that the system has not worked well. If a Milwaukee consumer’s meter goes wrong it is taken out. sent to a repair shop and returned in due time. If the city owned the meters and followed our plan the consumer would report his meter trouble, a meter would be taken out of stock and given in place of the broken meter, and would remain in the possession of the consumer until reported faulty. The defective meter would be taken to the city repair shop and after being fixed up would take its turn in replacing a meter that had gone wrong. The consumer, of course, pays for the meters, anyway. The money for the meters comes out of the water fund, and that fund is kept up through charges to consumers. There is another argument in favor of city owned meters. Tenants move frequently. At present the water tax is borne by the tenants in many cases. If they were compelled to pay for meters also there would be trouble every time they moved. Under our proposed plan the opposition on the part of the small consumers is minimized, otherwise I would not have the courage to undertake this campaign.” The estimates of the bureau are that the use of meters will mean a net saving to consumers of $135,000,000 in the next thirtythree years. The low pressure that is so often complained of will be relieved by meters, it is argued, and more than 100,000 tons of coal will be saved each year. The sub-committee which has been considering the question reported to the finance committee of the City Council recommending that the committee take up the matter, and the result was that on June 22 the committee on finance recommended to the Council that water meters be placed on all supply pipes.