Understanding our bill for a business or master-metered residential neighborhood such as an apartment complex

(Please note: The OWASA Board of Directors is considering a change in rates for multi-family master- metered customers such as apartment complexes, and seeks comments in a public hearing on the proposed change on Thursday night, October 27, 2016. For more information, please click here.

Our bill normally has four basic charges:

  • Fixed monthly water service charge
  • Charge for the volume of water use
  • Fixed monthly sewer service charge
  • Charge for the volume of sewer use

The fixed monthly charges are based on the size of our meter at your location and they cover the costs of reading the meter, preparing our bill, maintaining account records, etc.

Our seasonal water conservation rates apply to businesses, agencies and institutions and to multi-family neighborhoods served through an OWASA master meter. From May through September, our "peak" seasonal rate is in effect. Our lower "off-peak" seasonal water rate applies from October through April.

Under normal conditions, our sewer volume charge does not vary by time of year, except for annual rate adjustments in October.

Basic Information on Our Bill

Account Number - The first eight digits, which start with 05, 06 or 07, are the unique number for the physical location where you receive service. We may refer to this number as the Location ID. You will need to have this eight-digit number and your 6-digit customer number to get your account balance, payment due date, etc. via our 24-hour Customer Service number, (919) 537-4343.

Customer ID Number - The six digits after our Location ID are your unique Customer ID number. This number is associated with any location where you receive our services. Your Customer ID number is needed to register for on-line account services such as paperless billing and to see your bill and account history, etc. on the Manage My Account part of our website.

Usage (1,000s) - indicates the volume of your water/sewer use in thousands of gallons for the billing period. We round down our meter readings to the nearest 1,000 gallons. For example, if we show the number 14 in the Usage box on our bill, it is for 14,000 gallons of water and sewer use.

Current reading and Prev. reading - the most recent and previous readings from our meter. The difference between these numbers is the volume of water use between the two meter readings in thousands of gallons. For example, if the current reading from the meter is 1634 and the previous meter reading was 1620, the difference of 14 indicates that 14,000 gallons went through the meter between the readings.

Four Basic Monthly Charges in Our Monthly Bill

The following descriptions refer to the sample bill presented below.

Water Service Charge

This is the fixed monthly water service charge for reading and maintaining our meter, printing and mailing the bill, maintaining account records, etc. This charge varies with meter size. In this example, the 5/8" indicates the diameter of our meter serving the customer. Rate on 10/01/2011 means that this fixed monthly service charge of $14.70 per month has been in effect since October 2011.

Water Usage Charge

The water usage charges are for the volume of water use in thousands of gallons. In the sample below, the customer used a total of 14,000 gallons of water as indicated by the 14 in the Usage (1000s) box.

Water Use Charge - 14000 gal x $4.16 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that the 14,000 gallons of water use were charged a rate of $4.16 per 1,000 gallons and this rate has been in effect since October 1, 2011. The $4.16 rate is our off-peak seasonal water rate, which applies from October through April.

In a bill for service when our peak seasonal water rate goes into effect in May, the water rate on our bill would be $7.91 per 1,000 gallons and the effective date would be listed as 5/1/2012.

Sewer Service Charge

The fixed monthly sewer service charge is for costs of reading and maintaining our meter, preparing our bill for sewer service, maintaining account records, etc. This charge is based on meter size. In this example, 5/8" Rate on 10/1/2011 means the diameter of our meter is 5/8 of an inch and the charge of $12.00 per month has been in effect since October 2011.

Sewer Usage Charge

14000 gal X $6.48 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that 14,000 gallons of sewer service were charged at a rate of $6.48 per 1,000 gallons, and the rate of $6.48 has been in effect since October 2011. It is not practical to have a separate meter for sewer use, so we use our water meter reading to bill for the volume of sewer use.

Below is an example of a bill for a customer paying seasonal water rates in winter, when our lower "off-peak" seasonal water rate is in effect. The bill amount would be higher if it were for service between May  1 and September 30, when the higher "peak" seasonal rate is in effect.

Bills When Our Rates Change

Our rates sometimes change. They change annually in October as necessary to generate sufficient revenue to cover OWASA's costs of operations, capital improvements and debt service. In water shortage situations, surcharges may go into effect. For businesses and other non-residential customers who pay seasonal water rates, our rates change in May and October due to transitions between our peak rate (for May through September) and off-peak rate (October through April). When a rate change occurs, our bills are pro-rated. For example, if our rates change on October 1 and a customer is billed for service from September 16 to October 15, we charge for half of our service at the old rates and half at the new rates.