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Councillor 'furious' over 'heavy handed' Halifax Water smart meter notifications

Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell calls the notifications a 'last ditch effort'
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(stock photo)

A Halifax Regional Municipality councillor says he's "furious" to see Halifax Water threatening to start a legal process over upgrading water meters.

Hammonds Plains – St. Margarets councillor Matt Whitman posted a picture on Twitter of a notification sent to a customer by the utility.

The letter explains that Halifax Water has contracted Neptune Technology Group to do necessary upgrades to water meters.

The note ends with, "In the event that you do not contact Neptune Technology Group or Halifax Water to book an appointment within 3 weeks of issuance of this notice, we will commence the formal legal process to enforce Halifax Water's right to access its water meter at your property."

A second photo tweeted by Whitman showed a notice from Halifax Water telling customers, "It is essential that you schedule your appointment with our contractor, Neptune, within 72 hours."

"To threaten someone with legal action if you do not contact them to have a water meter installed...is, at very, very worst, heavy handed," he said. "It's bullying, it's not good customer service."

However, Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell said they're not trying to drag anyone to court, they're just looking for cooperation.

"I don't know exactly what the details of how the legal process works out...it's just we have the meter in there, it's our infrastructure," he said. "The few customers who have received this notice, it's a benefit to them to get the meter changed out."

He explained the new smart meters are part of their Customer Connect program, which will allow the utility to get more detailed information about water usage and detect leaks more quickly.

Halifax Water started replacing roughly 84,000 meters last August and hope to have to project completed by 2020.

Campbell said those receiving this recent notification have already been contacted several times explaining that they need to book an appointment.

He called this a "last ditch effort."

"Five different ways; we've sent letters, brochures, some door knockers, we've had phone calls, and more letters," he said. "Just recently we've started delivering these door knockers that basically indicate we really need to get a hold of our meter and get that changed out."

Campbell said the meter swap takes 30 to 90 minutes and there's no additional cost to the customer.

This isn't Whitman's first battle with Halifax Water, he's been fighting to make the utility open up its board meetings to the public.




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