San Diego

Deputy Director of San Diego's Water Department Retires

Michael Vogl has retired as the city continues to investigate complaints of high water bills.

The Deputy Director for the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department has announced his retirement.

Michael Vogl will be retiring from the city after more than 28 years of employment, a city spokesperson told NBC 7 Responds.

“The City was made aware of his retirement plans in advance, allowing for appropriate transition of knowledge and responsibilities,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Vogl has been a key figure in the city’s efforts to replace manual water meters with electronic, smart meters that relay a customer’s water-use wirelessly.

NBC 7 Responds has been asking questions surrounding the smart water meter or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program since last July, after receiving complaints of unusually high water bills from viewers.

The city, however, has maintained throughout NBC 7 Responds’ investigation that the high water bills were not caused by the switch to smart meters.

“I don’t think there is necessarily a widespread issue that is the cause for these concerns,” Vogl told NBC 7 Responds in January. “We’ve seen no indication that there’s a problem with the meters themselves.”

As a result of customer complaints, the San Diego’s City Auditor’s Office is currently reviewing the department’s billing procedures and the AMI program. The auditor’s office had planned to release the audit this month, however, that date has since been pushed to late July

In the meantime, NBC 7 Responds has learned that the city has currently halted the AMI program until after the audit is released.

NBC 7 Responds tried to contact Vogl on Friday afternoon but have not heard back.

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