Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why does it look like I used the exact same amount of water both this month and last month?
We bill for COMPLETE units of water, so you’ll never be billed until the meter clicks to the next whole number. Let’s say you start with a reading of 0.0000 on your meter. If you used 3.6875 units of water we will send you a bill for just the 3 complete units, and we will show a read of 3 on the meter.
But let’s say in the next month you use 2.5791 units. Even though you used one unit LESS than the month before, your meter will click past 6 (3.6875 + 2.5791 = 6.2666) and you will be billed for 3 units, including the unbilled portion from the previous month. So you will see 3 units of consumption on the bill and a read of 6 on the meter.
2. Does DPW round the Billing/Consumption?
No. DPW does not round up and does not bill any usage under 1 unit.
3. What is 1 Unit of Water?
1 unit is 100 cubic feet of water, about 748 gallons. Sometimes this is shown as 1CCU.
4. What are Infrastructure Fees?
The Infrastructure Fee is used toward the cost of our pipes, facilities, and other assets that benefit all customers. This is not a new fee. We simply now show this cost with more detail and not, as prior to October 11th, 2016, just part of the minimum quarterly charge.
The Account Management Fee covers the operational costs of supporting meter reading, billing, and customer service, as well as postage and mailing.
The Stormwater and Bay Restoration Fees are not new. They both were previously listed on your quarterly bills and there is no annual increase in these fees or on your bill.
5. What is a Stormwater Fee?
In 2012, the Maryland Legislature passed a law mandating that the 10 largest jurisdictions in the state, including Baltimore City, establish a Maryland Stormwater Fee. The fee provides a sustainable, dedicated revenue source for maintaining, operating, and improving the City’s stormwater management system, with the ultimate goal of reducing flooding and erosion, and keeping our waterways cleaner.
The City’s stormwater fees are based on the amount of impervious area on a property. Impervious surfaces like sidewalks and driveways block water from infiltrating the ground. They cause increased runoff, overload the drainage system, and transport pollutants and nutrients to bodies of water. Maintaining the stormwater management system and reducing the nutrients and other pollutants are the primary expenses of the program.
6. Wasn’t the Stormwater Fee Repealed?
No. Gov. Hogan and the General Assembly in 2015 made the fee optional for the City and the nine counties, but kept the requirement that we prove a sufficient level of funding to meet our stormwater permit requirements. Baltimore City decided to continue to fund its stormwater program through the fee.
6A. Wasn’t the Bay Restoration Fee Repealed?
No. You may read details on the Maryland Chesapeake Bay restoration fee, which DPW sends back to the state, using the following link:
7. What is the Customer Self Service Portal?
The CSS Portal allows customers to access account information and perform certain activities online, such as looking up consumption history and bill payment records, without calling in to Customer Support.
8. As a property owner, if I chose to give my CSS Portal password to my tenant and I changed tenants, how can I stop my former tenant from accessing my account?
As property owner, if you change tenants it is your responsibility to change the password and login information for the account. You can either login and change your password, OR call DPW Customer Support and Services Division at (410) 396-5398 and our representative will issue a letter with a new activation code to your mailing address on file.
9. Where do I go to get my customer information?
On the portal, you can change your phone, email, mailing and billing address by clicking the “pencil icon” in the contact information window or via the contact information tab.
10. How do I get my Activation Code?
The property owner will receive a letter in the mail with the activation code.
11. If I still have not received (or lost) my Activation Code, what should I do?
Check your mailing address on file with your real property records. This is where DPW has mailed your activation code. If you still have not received it or need to update that mailing address, please call the DPW Customer Support and Services Division at (410) 396-5398 and your letter will be reissued.
12. How long does it take changes to show within the system?
Name and address changes may take up to three (3) days. These changes are reviewed to ensure that they are valid and changes may require customer provide documentation. Email and phone number changes happen in real time.
13. What happens when an account is deleted from CSS?
Removing an account does not delete it from the system. It removes it from your view in CSS. You can add it again providing you still have your activation code. If not, call the DPW Customer Support and Services Division at (410) 396-5398 and a new activation code will be mailed to you.
14. I tried to view my bill online but the tab won’t open what should I do?
You must have Adobe Acrobat reader or any other .pdf viewer installed on your device to view your bill.
15. I am a tenant and my landlord will not give me access to CSS even though I am responsible for the water bill. Can I call customer service?
DPW only issues logins to property owners at this time.
16. How can I contact Customer Support without calling?
You can submit a request or log an issue via the “Submit a Request” tab of the portal, instead of calling the support line. With this tab you have the option to request the following: Billing Dispute, Abandonment Request, Info Request, and Refund Request. You can also monitor the status of your request using the “My Requests” tab.
You may also email Customer Support at DPW.Billing@baltimorecity.gov.
17. Why do I see a charge for Fire Suppression Fee on my monthly bill? This fee used to be charged once a year.
Prior to January 2017, your fire suppression fee was charged on an annual basis. In January, 2017, the fire fee started billing monthly which means you will receive 1/12 of the annual fire fee on each of your monthly bills.
18. I paid but I don’t see my payment on my new bill. What should I do?
When you login to your customer self-service portal and check the payment history tab or you check cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/water you will be able to see your current balance, including most recent payments. Remember that the date that you submitted payment is not the same date that DPW receives the payment from the Department of Finance Bureau of Revenue Collections. Please double check payment history on the website or City Services website prior to see if the payment has been received since the last bill was produced.