In response to Philippe Clauwaert’s letter of Feb. 22, “Metered water is fiscally fair,” Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility has periodically evaluated the cost and benefit of installation of water meters for single-family dwellings over the years. Each time we have concluded that, for Anchorage, metering single-family dwellings would not be cost-effective.
Procurement and installation of meters would be very expensive — over $50 million in costs to utility ratepayers. What’s more, in our cold climate, many Anchorage homes do not have plumbing to accommodate meter installation, adding to the expense.
The benefit of meter installation is limited. The cost of raw water to the consumer accounts for less than 1 percent of the monthly bill. A minor portion of the bill — about a third — pays for labor to operate and maintain the facilities and service the accounts for 55,000 customers. The majority of a customer’s bill goes to long-term investment in infrastructure — the piping, valves, pumps, reservoirs, and other facilities — needed to ensure reliable service and safeguard public health and the environment.
— J. Brett Jokela, P.E.