4 CLE Water employees fired for meter tampering

Posted at 9:09 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 21:09:49-04

Cleveland Water reported on Thursday that during its regular operations, an employees' account was flagged for possible tampering with meters.

Based on the what was found, Cleveland Water said, it prompted the company to review accounts for all Department of Public Utilities employees. As a a part of the self-audit, Cleveland Water identified and fired four employees who had tampered with their meters, Chief Investigator Ron Regan was told. 

Cleveland Water said though the employees have rights, the company believed it took the appropriate move in each case and, as the self-audit moves forward, will continue to do so if additional cases arise.

"Cleveland Water takes meter tampering seriously," said Paula Morrison, a spokesperson for Cleveland Water. "Meter tampering is theft – not just from Cleveland Water but also from all of our rate payers who have to pick up the costs. One of the key features of the automated meter reading (AMR) system is that it allows us to more readily identify people who have tampered with their meter via automatic alerts which let us know there may be an issue that we need to investigate."

The company said the number of tampering cases increased in 2015 and 2014. Cleveland Water already identified about 300 cases so far in 2016. 

Cleveland Water said it also increased the fee linked with tampering several times, to $500 in 2012 and $1,000 for the first instance in 2016, $1,500 for the second, and $2,500 for each additional instance.

Anyone caught tampering with meters will have water service disconnected and they will be required to pay the tampering fee, any past due balances, and costs associated with the stolen water before service is restored, Cleveland Water reported.