Utility Billing FAQ

Utility Billing FAQ

What are the rates for water?

There are three different entities billed from this office, all with different rates and units of measure.  Rates for these entities are based on the size of the meter.  City accounts are charged based on Resolution #44-11 Section 3.  SAWS accounts are based on their Rules and Regulations, most recently updated in July 2011.  Downer District locations are charged the same as outside city customers (Resolution #44-11) with the difference being they are measured in 1000 gallons and therefore require conversion of their usages at the time of billing into 100 cf.

How am I charged for sewer? Why do I pay the same all year?

 Non residential accounts (usually commercial) are charged for their sewer based on their monthly water usage.  Rates are calculated according to Resolution #44-11 Section 4.  Residential accounts – including trailers and apartment complexes – are charged based on the average usage of water during the winter months.  The readings taken from December through March are averaged.  That usage is then plugged into the formula in Section 4. The charges are re-calculated annually in April, and repeat for a year.

I had a water leak in January. My sewer bill is $100! Do I have to pay that for a year?

This has been addressed in a formal policy adopted by City Council.  According to that policy, there are three major criteria a customer must meet in order to be eligible for a reduction on their bill.

  1. The leak must have occurred during the period when sewer rate averages are calculated.
  2. The customer must have paid the water bill associated with the leak.
  3. The customer must have remedied the problem and be prepared to provide documentation from a certified plumber.  If all requirements have been met, the customer will be adjusted to repeat the previous years’ rate on the next billing cycle.  Pro-rata adjustments will not be made.

Why is my bill so high? Do I have a leak?

It depends on the usage.  Sometimes a customer may think they have excessive consumption, but the usage is actually normal for them – usually happens in the summer months.  If the usage does seem unreasonably high, or the customer would like it checked, We can schedule an appointment for a crew member to examine the meter.

When can I expect to receive my next bill?

SAWS bills are generated by the 15th of each month.  City bills are usually in production from the 15th – 30th each month.  Bills are due two weeks following the bill date.

I am new to a location, when can I expect my first bill?

 This depends on the location’s billing cycle.  If an account was established at the very end of the previous cycle, it is possible a customer could go for a month before receiving their first statement as the previous account holder would be billed for that cycle.  Generally speaking, however, the customer would receive a bill within two to three weeks following their account establishment.  Customers who acquire an account in the middle of a billing cycle will be pro-rated on their first bill and have a reduction in charges reflecting the number of days in which they received service.

Were my current charges based on an estimate?

 The software used for utility billing generates several reports regarding monthly meter readings and customer usages.  These reports include information citing the day and time a meter was read.  Estimates are performed as a last resort, and are typically due to problems with broken wires which connect the outside reader to the meter. Customers are notified of the reading failure with a door hanger requesting an appointment be scheduled with service staff to make the repairs as soon as possible.  If it becomes necessary to estimate an account, every effort is made to ensure the estimate is fair to the customer.  The estimate is based on an evaluation of water used the previous cycle and also for the same month the previous year.  Documentation regarding the estimate is recorded on the meter history.

Why am I still getting billed if I left the property three months ago?

When a consumer vacates a property it is their responsibility to make arrangements for termination of services.  In addition, when a consumer purchases a property it is their responsibility to establish an account.  As long as one party or the other makes arrangements, there is usually no conflict.  Difficulties arise when neither party take measures to transfer ownership – each assuming it was handled by the other.  When this occurs, one of two options is available.  Either the transfer becomes effective immediately, or as of the last reading date of the meter.

I signed up for Auto draft recently. Will my account be drafted on my next bill?

It varies depending on when in the billing cycle the request was made.  If they were already billed for the most recent cycle, then the answer would be a no.  If they are about to be charged in the next few days, then the answer would probably be no.  If they made the request for a billing cycle taking place in the following month, then yes.

May I change my commercial trash day/days?

Yes you can – please call us at (307) 672-5403 to arrange a different day for your trash pick-up