Understanding our bill for an individually-metered residence

Our bill for an individually-metered residence 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 meter at your location and cover the costs of reading the meter, preparing and mailing our bill, maintaining account records, etc.

Our “increasing block” water conservation rates apply to individually-metered residences including conventional single-family homes and some apartments, condominiums and townhouses. For most other customers, including businesses, institutions and multi-family neighborhoods served through a master meter, our “seasonal” water volume rates apply.

For a typical individually-metered residence, where increasing block rates apply, the monthly bill for 4,000 gallons of water and sewer service is $70.66.

Basic Information on Our Bill

Account Number - The first eight digits, which start with 05, 06 or 07, make up 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 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.

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 2 in the Usage box on our bill, it is for 2,000 gallons of water and sewer use.

Current reading and Prev. reading - the most recent and previous readings taken 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 was 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 below.

Water Service Charge

This is the fixed monthly water service charge for reading and maintaining our meter, preparing our bill, maintaining account records, etc. This charge varies with meter size, but most residences have 5/8” diameter meters. In this example, the 5/8” indicates the diameter of our meter for your residence. 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 this billing period, the customer in this example used a total of 14,000 gallons of water as indicated by the 14 in the Usage (1000s) box.

Water Usage Charge - Block 1- 2000 gal x $2.63 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that the first 2,000 gallons of water use were charged a rate of $2.63 per 1,000 gallons and this rate has been in effect since October 1, 2011. The “Block One” rate is the lowest of our five block water rates.

Water Usage Charge - Block 2- 3000 gal x $6.39 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that 3,000 gallons of water use were charged a rate of $6.39 per 1,000 gallons and this rate has been in effect since October 1, 2011. The “Block Two” rate is the second lowest of our five block water rates.

Water Usage Charge - Block 3- 5000 gal x $7.83 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that 5,000 gallons of water use were charged a rate of $7.83 per 1,000 gallons and this rate has been in effect since October 1, 2011. The “Block Three” rate is the third lowest of our five block water rates.

Water Usage Charge - Block 4- 4000 gal x $10.73 Rate on 10/1/2011 means that 4,000 gallons of water use were charged a rate of $10.94 per 1,000 gallons and this rate has been in effect since October 1, 2011.

Sewer Service Charge

The fixed monthly sewer service charge is for costs of reading and maintaining our meter, preparing our bill, 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 service. We therefore use the water meter reading to bill for sewer use, except that a monthly billing “cap” of 15,000 gallons applies to residential sewer use. That is, if an individually-metered residential customer uses more than 15,000 gallons of water in a month, we bill for only 15,000 gallons of sewer service.

In order to better illustrate the increasing block rate structure, the example below is a bill assuming a customer used 14,000 gallons of water in a given month. On average, our residential customers use about 4,000 gallons of water per month.


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 customers such as businesses which pay “seasonal” water rates, our rates also change in May and October due to transitions between our peak seasonal water rate (for May through September) and off-peak seasonal water 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.