Water Billing Reviews
Thursday Jul 25th, 2019
Program Provides Customers Independent Review of Bills
Several weeks ago, Mayor Young announced that the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) would be partnering with the City’s Environmental Control Board (ECB) to provide an independent review of billing disputes, using the ECB Hearing Officers.
Today, Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. presented the regulations, which will govern how such disputes will be considered and addressed. These regulations codify in one place not only the dispute process, but also outline the conditions under which charges for water, sewer, and storm water can be made.
The regulations are being promulgated under the authority granted DPW by the Baltimore City Annotated Code. They will take effect August 1, 2019, and will apply to water, wastewater, and/or storm water charges incurred on or after July 1, 2019.
In the vast majority of cases, water billing questions can be answered with a simple telephone call to 410-396-5398. Our Customer Support and Services Staff can usually pinpoint the cause of a concern very quickly. With the Customer Billing Portal, individuals can review their own water usage, and they may even be able to spot their own water use anomalies. For example: “I see on July 19th that I had very high water usage. Oh yes, now I remember, that is the day I left the hose running after filling the kiddie pool.” Or perhaps: “July 5th, that is when my sister and her five boys came to visit. They were constantly running water.”
If DPW suspects that there is an unusual amount of water being used at a property that cannot be accounted for, we can conduct a turn-off test to detect for leaks, or we can evaluate the meter for accuracy. Just call us at 410-396-5398 to request an investigation.
Even with all of this, there are times when a customer feels that they need to be heard about why their billing information is incorrect or why their bill should be adjusted. This is where the new Independent Review comes in.
The new program allows customers to make their case to DPW staff and supervision on an escalating scale. If they are not satisfied with the response/resolution on any level, they can make an appeal to the next level, and finally to the Environmental Control Board. Even the Environmental Control Board’s decision can be appealed to the Director of Public Works, and ultimately to the Circuit Court.
For additional information, and to access a copy of the full regulations, please click here.