Discounted Water Rates Greet Customers of DPW’s New Water Billing System
Thursday Oct 20th, 2016
As Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) continues its transition to monthly billing, customers in the City will notice discounts in the first bills, which are beginning to go out on Thusday, Oct. 20, 2016.
For water consumption prior to the Oct. 11 switch to monthly billing, all City account holders are being billed a discounted rate of just $1.915 per unit of water. That is below the new rate of $2.26 per unit, billed for water used after Oct. 11, and less than half the previous rate. A unit is 100 cubic feet of water, or about 748 gallons.
In addition, since the new monthly infrastructure fee went into effect at the same time as the new billing system, it is being waived for any consumption prior to the Oct. 11 switch, and pro-rated for any consumption of less than a month after the switch. This fee reflects some of the costs of reinvesting in the City’s water and sewer pipes, plants, and other facilities.
The first bills will begin arriving this weekend, and will continue into mid-November. About 10,000 to 15,000 account holders will have their accounts read and bills mailed to them every other day until all of the approximately 200,000 accounts are completed. Then the cycle repeats each month.
The discounted water rate is meant to acknowledge the patience of DPW’s water customers as the department replaced the nearly four-decade-old billing system with the state-of-the-art system now in use. As the old, quarterly billing cycles were eliminated with a final meter reading and bill in September, some account holders experienced shorter than typical billing periods, while others had longer billing periods.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience as we get the new billing system in place,” said DPW Director Rudy S. Chow, P.E. “This system, along with the new meters installed throughout the City, will provide a much more user-friendly experience for our customers long into the future.”
Other customer service improvements include the addition of “virtual hold” for people calling DPW’s Customer Support and Service Center. This feature allows callers to leave a call-back number that is automatically dialed when an agent is available to speak with them.
Also, customers who apply for and qualify for the Low-Income Senior Discount program will automatically be enrolled in the hardship exemption from paying the Bay Restoration and Stormwater fees.
More information is available by checking the new water billing system page, or by calling 410-396-5398.