If you’re a New York City property owner and have a building registered with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), you might be familiar with the water meter services available on the “My DEP” customer website. You have the ease and convenience of paying your water bill online, as well as viewing your building’s water consumption, but it isn’t as easy to access real-time water meter reads or even convenient to add another building to your account (without spending a lot of time on the phone with DEP staff). Once upon a time you did – what happened?
On September 13th 2019, the DEP made a “necessary technological update” to the customer site which ultimately limited the availability of valuable meter data, complicated the user interface, and removed the ability for building owners to read their own meters (at one time, plumbers were able to see every water meter installed in a building, but now, fire and water meters that are on monitor status can no longer be seen.).
Since property managers can’t effectively monitor their buildings and navigate the “new and improved” site, many can’t make bill payments (there has been a noticeable increase in late bill payments, and a general decrease in the number of bills being paid – period.).
Why can’t consumers view and utilize their own water meter data and accurately monitor the consumption rate? Why can’t a property manager add another property to their account without having to contact a representative from the DEP?
Transparency is no longer the name of the game, and unfortunately, it’s at the detriment of both the consumer and the DEP. Regaining access to public information and reinstating the basic function of the My DEP website is just the start, and the results could spell an improved relationship between the organization and the frustrated property managers of New York City.