After years of delays, and millions in cost overruns, San Diego will hire a third-party company to take over the city’s troubled conversion to smart water meters.
The announcement was made after the city auditor released a new report highlighting management and staffing issues inside the city's water department.
The City of San Diego launched its conversion to smart water meters in July of 2012 with a completion date of December 2017. But shortly after launching, numerous delays occurred due to a lack of oversight, staffing shortages, and performance issues with the meters.
Currently only six percent of San Diego customers have smart water meters installed and the program is now $16 million over budget.
Senior Director of Communications Craig Gustafson says the city “fully intends to identify and select, through a proposal process, a third party to install and deploy smart meters across the city.”
An outside company will now be tasked with completing the conversion of more than 165,000 water meters from manual-read to wireless.
“I asked for this independent review to determine how we can better serve our customers and ensure the accuracy of their water bills,” said Mayor Faulconer in a July 11 statement.
“The audit recommendations show there is significant room for improvement and I’ve directed staff to fully implement those changes in addition to dozens of other operational reforms made over the past year to improve customer service in the water department.”
The city will begin reviewing proposals from private contractors in the coming months.