A lot of time, effort and care goes into preparing monthly statements which are accurate, easy to understand, and communicate required information to our customers. Currently, the Customer Service department prepares over 47,000 monthly statements for a variety of rate payers; including residential, commercial and recycled water customers. The District divides all customers into 12 separate billing “cycles,” which are based primarily on the location of the property that is served. Click here to determine what cycle you are billed with and view your billing schedule.
The following describes the steps that are taken to produce your bill:
Step 1: Meter Reading
The first step to preparing your bill involves reading the water meter at each property within a cycle. Currently, meters in the District are read remotely via our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The District began the conversion to AMI technology in 2017, and the project was completed in 2018. AMI allows the District to read all meters remotely from the District office eliminating the need to send a meter reader to your property, reducing CO2 emissions which directly reduces EVMWD’s carbon footprint.
Also, the potential of misreading a meter is eliminated with AMI as human error is not a factor. Meters are still equipped with a highly accurate, traditional registers, similar to a car odometer (click here for more information about how to read your meter), and the numbers will only advance if water passes through the meter from the District’s supply lines to your property. The AMI device has a specific serial number that is directly associated with a meter’s serial number, both of which correspond to the numbers reflected in the District’s billing system. With AMI, Data Collection Units (DCUs) are strategically placed throughout the serving area to ensure triple redundancy. These DCUs collect the meter readings on an hourly basis and transmit them electronically four times a day for billing purposes. AMI allows the District to provide customers access to view their hourly usage via Aquahawk, our customer online water usage analyzer tool.
The date the meter is read is noted on you bill. Staff takes great care to ensure that an appropriate amount of time between monthly readings passes, so that the number of days of consumption billed each month is consistent.
The monthly service charge is billed on a per day basis.
Step 2: Edit Meter Readings
Professionally trained billing specialists review the readings. With the aid of computer programs, they search for any abnormal readings and investigate as needed; or zero usage readings, which may indicate a stopped meter.
Step 3: Bill Calculation
Once the billing specialists ensure that all readings have been taken and are accurate, they begin a process which calculates all of the charges on a bill. Sewer service, monthly account service, power zone and the water consumption are billed according to rates that have been approved by the District’s 5-member, publicly elected Board of Directors.
The calculated data is then compiled into a bill file that is ready to print on bills.
Step 4: Bill Printing & Mailing
Once a bill file has been compiled, it is then sent to the District’s bill printing vendor via a secured internet connection. The printing vendor uses state of the art computer programming and equipment to efficiently print the bill; insert the bill along with a return envelope and other informational inserts into a mailing envelope; apply proper postage; sort and deliver to the U.S. Postal Service for distribution. Customers that have opted for paperless bills receive an email with their bill information attached.
The vendor the District has selected is so efficient that most customers will normally receive their bills in the mail the very next day. Receiving your bill quickly allows more time for customers to budget appropriately for their payment, which is due no later than 21 days after the Bill Date.
The goal of the District is to provide our customers with a statement that is functional, delivers information that is important to you, is professional in appearance and is produced in the most cost efficient manner possible.
Important Features of Your Bill
1. Account Information: This section includes the Bill Date, the billing period and the number of service days you are billed for. Please note that the Bill Date is not the date that your meter is read.
2. Activity Since Prior Bill: This section will include your previous bill total and also the total amount of payments received between the previous Bill Date and the current Bill Date. If you have a past due amount that is still owed, a courtesy reminder message will be displayed informing you that payment must be made immediately in order to avoid the potential for service interruption.
3. Service Location & Water Budget Factors: This section includes the address serviced, current and previous meter readings, the total amount of water billed for the service during the current billing period and the factors that are used to determine the customized water budget for the property. The number of persons in the household is used to calculate the indoor water budget and the irrigated landscape area is used to calculate the outdoor water budget, which varies every month. If either factor is not accurate, then customers are able to submit a water budget variance request. If the property is billed for sewer services, the number of persons in the home is also used to calculate the correct sewer charges.
4. Water Budget & Historical Usage: This section compares the current billing period water usage to the previous year and shows usage in CCF, total gallons and gallons per day. This information can be compared to the actual daily water budget for the property for the current billing period and the next billing directly below the historical data.
5. Tier Rate Detail: The charge for all residential water provided by the District is calculated using water budget that is specific to each property. The first tier represents the indoor water budget and the second tier represents the outdoor water budget. Both of these tiers combined represent the total water budget for the property. If the usage at the property goes over the total allocated water budget, then usage will be billing in the third and fourth tiers. Each tier is listed on every residential bill, even if there is no usage billed at each tier, so that customers are aware of the increasing water rates if the water budget is exceeded.
6. Total Balance Due: This amount is a net result of the previous balance and the total current charges.
7. Amounts Owed & Due Dates: Just look here for a quick summation of the past due and current amounts owed on your account and the due dates. Any payments must be posted to your account to avoid potential interruption of service or late fees.
8. Usage History Graph: This graph shows the usage for the previous calendar year and the usage for the current calendar year to date. These amounts are compared to the historical water budget and the anticipated future water budget for the property.
Glossary of Common Billing Terms
- Water Consumption: The amount of water consumed by the property during the billing period displayed in hundred cubic fee (CCF).
- CCF (Hundred Cubic Feet): Equal to 748 gallons. A measure of volume 10′ square and 1 foot deep that is used for billing water consumption.
- Service Charge: A monthly charge (prorated daily) for customer services such as maintaining meters, processing bills, posting payments and repairing water mains. Daily service charges are based upon the size of a customer’s water meter. Charges are applied to open accounts whether water is used, or not.
- Power Zone Charge: The electricity cost to deliver water to various elevations throughout the District. This charge is billed based on the amount of water consumption that registers on a meter.
- Sewer Charge: A monthly charge that includes a fixed and variable component. The fixed component (prorated daily) covers EVMWD’s standard sewer administration and costs as well as regular maintenance and facility repairs. The variable component is calculated based on the number of people in the home.
- Days of Service: The number of days that fall within the billing period. Normally, this will alternate between 29 and 31 days.
- Deposit Billing: An amount billed to a customer that is specifically used for deposit only purposes.
- Service Reconnection Fee: A fee charged to reconnect customers that have had services interrupted due to non-payment.
- Returned Check Charge: A fee charged to a customer that has had a check or ACH payment returned by their bank as unpaid. The fee is used to recoup the cost of recovering those delinquent funds and fees charged by the District’s banking institution.
- Delinquent Charge: A penalty charged to customer accounts if payment is not received by the indicated due date. Currently, the delinquent charge is $5.00 or 5%, whichever is greater.
- Total Payments: The total amount of payments received since the last bill date. Separate payment amounts are not listed on bills.
- Service Set-up Charge: A standard fee charged to all new customers for setting up an account at the District. Currently, the advanced notice set-up charge is $10.00. An additional “same day” fee in the amount of $50.00 is charged for customers that call before 2:30 pm the same day they require the service to begin. An additional “after hours” fee in the amount of $100.00 is charged for customers that call after 2:30 pm the same day they require the service to begin.