GWA’s new water meters holding up; backbilling now minimized

GWA Badger meter (PNC file photo)

The Guam Waterworks Authority’s new water meter appears to be holding up well and performing better than the old meter it replaced.

According to GWA general manager Miguel Bordallo, the new M25 meters are working well with a failure rate of only about 5 percent compared to the old LP meters that had a failure rate of a whopping 80 percent.

The LP meters sold to GWA failed at alarming rates and GWA says in 2017, a report showed that 1500 LP meter failures in one month.

GWA claims it was sold faulty LP meters resulting in $3.9 million in costs for replacement meters, $2.4 million in labor costs, $12 million in lost income, and $18,900 in costs for expert and testing services.

“Fortunately, we seem to have found a meter that seems to work and the issues that we were having with the LP meters are behind us. We don’t have any similar issues with the M25s that we currently have in service. The new meters seem to be holding up well and we don’t anticipate that they will experience any premature failures as the old meters did,” Bordallo told the Consolidated Commission on Utilities during a recent meeting.

He added that GWA is testing about 200 meters a month, starting with those from the oldest dates of installation.

Because of the better performance of the new meters, GWA’s backbilling has been significantly reduced.

GWA was allowed to backbill customers because of the faulty meters, basing their back-billing on estimates rather than on actual consumption.

With the more accurate meters in use now, GWA has already been able to settle about 85 to 90 percent of its 13,000 backbilled accounts.

“We’re not seeing backbilling issues like we used to,” CCU commissioner Simon Sanchez said.