Meter swap draws fine

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times

A Bunbury woman has been fined for tampering with a water meter after appearing in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on October 14.

The woman pleaded guilty to three charges and was fined $3000 and ordered to pay Aqwest’s costs of $9811.29, which included unpaid water rates, legal costs, replacement meter cost and other fees.

The court was told that between meter readings from 2012-13 to 2019, the woman removed the water meter on her property and replaced it with a meter which had been removed from a neighbouring vacant property.

Prior to the next meter reading, she swapped the meters, reinstalling the correct meter.

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The wrong meter was discovered when Aqwest changed its meter reading schedule from every four to every three months and the meter was read a month earlier in July, instead of August.

Aqwest chief executive Gary Hallsworth said tampering with meters was extremely serious and could lead to contamination of Bunbury’s water supply.

“Although we would have preferred that this incident had not gone to court, it was important to take appropriate action because tampering with a meter has the potential to seriously compromise the water supply,” Mr Hallsworth said.

“Tampering with a water meter is a serious offence and I urge anyone who is having difficulty paying a bill to contact us immediately so we can assist them, before taking action that could land them in court.”

The woman was granted a spent conviction.

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