METERAGE IN NEW YORK CITY.
Commissioner William Williams, of the New York City Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity, who recently presented his annual report to Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, stated that engineers of his department are making a study of the revenues produced by the selling of water by meter and by frontage rates and will shortly submit recommendations which it is expected will be in effect that meter rates be charged for apartment houses, tenements and private dwellings. It is pointed out that Commissioner Williams cannot install the meter system of selling water to apartment houses, tenements, fiat-houses or dwellings until State laws have been changed, or, in some cases ordinances of the Board of Aldermen have been amended. It is stated that at the last accounting there were 345,275 consumers’ accounts of which only 98,868, less than one-third, were metered accounts, yet the metered accounts produced more revenue for th city than the frontage accounts. The figures of comparative revenue for two years are: 1913—Frontage accounts, $6,125,742.82; metered accounts, $6,374,960.75. 1914 Frontage accounts, $6,297,887.19; metered accounts, $6,611,155.16. Commissioner Williams says in the annual report: “Meters constitute the best known means of controlling the use and checking the waste of water. Also of determining ‘the ratable portion which consumers of water should pay for the water,’ which is the language of the statute relating to water rates. The water actually consumed should be the basis for the charge therefor, and when this is recognized all will pay for water at the same rate. Frontage rates take no account of the amount actually used, and while they purport to be a means for estimating the same, yet such estimate is mere guesswork. Furthermore, they are an incentive to waste of water at a time when this valuable product should be carefully conserved. Householders tolerate leaky fixtures and allow water to run on cold nights to prevent pipes from freezing where they would be less likely to do either if they were charged for the water which is thus recklessly allowed to run to waste. Frontage rates may be well enough in small towns with an ample supply of water for present and future needs, but in a large and growing city, such as ours, spending nearly $150,000,000 to increase its water supply, they have long since ceased to be an intelligent means of collecting water revenue.” The city’s charges for water arc based either upon frontage rates or meter rates. The annual frontage rate varies from $4.00 for a one-story building 16 feet wide, to $14.00 for a one-story building 50 feet wide. $2.00 is added for each 10 feet in excess of 50-foot frontage, and $1.00 for each story above the first. Where more than.one family occupies the same building, $1.00 is charged for each additional family. Virtually all business premises have been metered. The charge for metered water is ten cents per 100 cubic feet.