Wireless Working For DEP

NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the city’s sole water source, has been known as a common source of customer complaints. Owners complained of unsent bills, lost payments, and years-long disputes. Once, a major Manhattan landowner I worked for was threatened with a lien to seize a 1,300-unit apartment complex due to nonpayment on a water meter we didn’t even know existed and had never once received a bill for.

But there have been big changes. DEP has now proposed the lowest water rate increase in 10 years, and part of the reason for that is their new wireless system. DEP says they have increased revenue from strong collections, due in large part to substantial completion of the installation of the wireless meter reading system. Since 2011, they’ve installed over 820,000 wireless meter readers, covering 97% of properties citywide. This has cut estimated billing by 82%—a huge change.

In addition, DEP makes compliance with the benchmarking requirements of Local Law 84 a snap. They’ll automatically upload building water usage directly to the data collection website—unlike any other utility. Why shouldn’t automatically uploading energy data be just as easy?

Once a laggard, now a leader—congrats, DEP! We look forward to seeing the next set of innovations.