METERS IN NEW YORK CITY.
The reason why more meters are not used in the distribution service of New York City is well known, yet no effort has been made by the Water Department heads to remove the causes. We have frequently pointed out that the principal reason is the exorbitant cost of setting charged by the plumbers, another is the political influence used by objectors to their installation. A recent case is quoted to us of cost of setting a ⅝-inch meter as being $20. This should not be. The cost price of a ⅝-inch meter is $8.40, allowing $3 for setting makes a fair average charge of $11.40. The plumber’s price of $20 will thus be seen to be too high, even in a city of such extravagance as New York. If the consumer were to be protected against the plumber, meterage would rapidly increase, as the conditions in New York are especially favorable for their use. As there is a strong sentiment in favor of using meters, consumers ought to receive encouragement from water department to that end instead of making the price of setting almost prohibitory for the poorer classes of the people. A check ought to be placed on plumbers to keep the price of setting down to a reasonable rate, and until this is done the work of installing will be held back, not only to the detriment of the consumer, but to the now over-burdened taxpayer as well. If efficiency is to be practised in the Water Department of New York, the question of supervision on meter setting charges should be adopted at once so that the consumers would have no red tape process to go through to obtain a meter, and that the cost of installation to them would be reduced to the lowest price. A bill was recently introduced in the Legislature giving the Water Commissioner broader powers with respect to the fixing of charges and the enforcement of rules and regulations concerning use of the city water, including the installation of meters. That the bill failed to pass seems unfortunate as the Commissioner would use his discretionary power to see more meters were used by consumers, as the cost would be less to them than the present flat rate.