City Hall

City Hall

City will temporarily estimate some water bills because of freezing weather

December 28, 2017


The city will not be reading some water meters because of the extremely cold weather forecast, and will instead be estimating bills for those customers.

Utility Billing Manager Kristen Webb said Thursday that five water meter routes in eastern Lawrence will be postponed because of frigid temperatures, requiring the city to estimate the water bills of 1,200 to 1,400 customers.

Webb said that after next month’s meter reading cycle, the bills of those customers will be adjusted up or down so that customers ultimately pay for the actual consumption.

“If we overestimated or underestimated, we make that right,” Webb said. “It all levels up with that next good read.”

Until then, Webb said the city’s billing system will calculate the estimated amount by averaging the customer’s consumption the previous month and the past year. For customers whose meter reading is estimated, an “E” will appear on their utility bill under the “EST” column.

The city is not running the five routes, all east of Iowa Street, to help protect the water meters from freezing. Webb explained that the meters are set in a pit in the ground, and opening the cover to read the meter introduces more cold air.

“In this kind of frigid cold weather, meters could still freeze, but if we can minimize how often we are getting into the pit, that will help,” Webb said.

Subfreezing temperatures are forecast for next week, with a few days' high temperatures predicted to be in the teens or lower.

If customers have questions about their utility bills, they can call 785-832-7878. For questions about a frozen meter, call 785-832-7800.


Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

If the ring that holds your outdoor meter pit lid is above ground and metal it can act as a radiator and radiate heat out of your meter pit causing the meter to freeze .

The bottom plate on water meters are like an automotive engine block freeze plug, in their function, in that they break sacrificial yot save the meter works above if the meter freeze which also shuts off your water

Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

i was trying to point out above ( before the machine did its editorial thing ) was to point out that if the ring that holds the seated down meter pit lid is above the grounds grade that one can cover those meter pit lid rings with an old rug, that is stable against the winds force, etc., to keep the wind from blowing directly on the exposed ring, potentially freezing and breaking the meter and the pipes inside of the outside meter pit .

i suppose that there is an exception to every rule but letting some faucets, etc., trickle inside is considered to help keep water pipes from freezing both inside and in the meter pit outside as utility water is warmer that standing water in a meter pit outside that is losing (?) its' heat might be .

When frozen pipes and meters that have broken from freezing are thawed out, then they are freed to run uncontrolled turning the yards, sidewalks and roads into ice skating rings . Call a pro if tings outside are frozen stopping your water flow to your home .

Broken pipes inside can do more damage than a fire......know where your main shut off is at and if it works ? a pro if you have doubts ......or think it thru before DIY pipe thawing unleashes a river inside of your home from broken but freeze blocked pipes that you might be opening as you hawing them out .

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