The Water Department said registered consumers have to pay RM150 to install new water meters at their respective premises following a spate of thefts recently. Its spokesman said this when contacted recently, about an incident at Taman Utara Gudon, in Sepanggar, where unscrupulous individuals dismantled and stole some 18 water meters from the houses at Lorong 2.
A representative for the affected homeowners there said there were unhappy at having to fork out money to have the missing meters replaced. They said it was no fault of theirs that the meters went missing in the first place.
A Department spokesman regretted the inconvenience caused to the affected homeowners there during the span they were unable to get piped water due to the meter theft.
"The charge of RM150 still applies to metered consumers even though the meter servicing their house has been stolen.
"We are not able to change the payable amount although the consumer produces us a police report on the theft," he said, adding that this was stipulated under the Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003.
He said metered consumers are responsible to safeguard their own water meters even though it is the property of the Department.
"If it is missing, please lodge a police report and submit the report to our office," he added.
A Daily Express reader said it was disheartening to learn about the expensive charge to install a new meter.
"We have already endured hardship in getting sufficient treated water for our families during the times our taps are dry."
"How can they still charge us that high?" he asked, urging the government to review the enactment for the welfare of those in the low-income group.
He said a police report was lodged by the residents on the issue and a copy of the report was handed to the Department's office but they were still charged RM150 each.