Keys to Understand Utility Billing Fluctuations
5 REASONS FOR UTILITY BILL INCREASED DOLLAR AMOUNT WHEN THERE IS NO CHANGE IN CONSUMPTION OR USE:
1 - PAST AMOUNT DUE/OUTSTANDING BALANCE
If a previous bill hasn’t been fully paid, there will be an outstanding balance on the account, and this is reflected on the bill. Therefore, more than the current billing period may be due - reflecting a higher dollar amount on the bill.
2 - RATE INCREASE
The most recent rate increase was effective on the October 2019 utility bills for trash. This was an increase of the trash rate from $18.84 to $20.54 to those inside the city limits and for those outside the city limit from $22.61 to $24.61. This could be part of an increased dollar amount on your bill.
3 - MISREAD
The meter could have been misread. The City does have a system in place to catch readings that are abnormal. A water consumption greater or less than 10,000 gallons than the previous month on any account will be flagged for re-check. For accounts with gas, consumption greater than 4,000 cubits will be flagged for re-check.
4 - NUMBER OF SERVICE DAYS IN A GIVEN BILL
We aim to read 30 days of utility consumption or use on each utility bill, however, the number of days between meter reads could vary with less or more days for various reasons. Over 2019, some utility customers were charged as few as 17 days of use and some as many as 53 days of use on a bill. The service dates on your bill generally reflect about 30 days, however, the days they actually read the meter were different and therefore customers were charged for more or less than 30 days. Depending on the number of days it took to read the meter since the previous time. All bills for February 2020 and moving forward will reflect actual days meters were read, matching the number of days on the bill.
- BOOK – A “book” is a meter reading route. These are the first two numbers on your account
- BILL START- The first day of that billing cycle
- ACTUAL READ 1- The day the meter was read in place of the “bill start” date
- BILL END- The last day of that billing cycle
- ACTUAL READ 2- The day the meter was read in place of the “bill end” date
- BILL DAYS- The number of days listed on your bill as “dates of service”
- DAYS CHARGED- The actual number of days that were billed to the customer due to delayed meter reads.
5 - MISCALIBRATED METER
A miscalibrated meter may show more or less consumption, this is rare but can occur. More often, when meters are older than their lifespan of 10-12 years, they register LESS or ZERO water consumption. Again, this is rare. These meters are sent out to be tested.
3 REASONS FOR UTILITY BILL INCREASED DOLLAR AMOUNT DUE TO AN INCREASE IN CONSUMPTION OR USE:
1 – NEW SEWER AVERAGE
The sewer amount is based on the average of water used during the winter months of December, January & February. The consumption or use during these three months is used to calculate the average, since generally, less water is used during winter months, especially for those who water their lawn or garden. The first bill with the new sewer average is April of every year. A higher consumption during the winter months will result in a higher sewer average.
2 - HIGHER USE OR CONSUMPTION
More water or gas was used in the particular month/bill. This could be due to a few different factors. During winter months, it is common for more gas to be used to maintain the temperature in homes or businesses. During the summer months, more water could have been used to water grass, landscaping or pool use. If more individuals were in the home or business, generally, more water/gas is used. Additionally, family visitations or additions will also increase the monthly consumption.
3 – LEAK
There could be a leak inside or outside the home for water, gas or both. Leaks that are on the resident or business side of the meter will have higher use or consumption until fixed or repaired. Property owners are responsible for leaks or damages from the water meter to their property. Older homes with clay piping are more prone to deterioration of plumbing lines leading to water leaks. Sprinkler or irrigation systems can leak due to aging or shifts in the ground based on temperature or climate. Leaks inside the home also affect your bill and are the property owner’s responsibility. For example, a leaky or running toilet can use about 5,000 additional gallons each month until repaired.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO UTILITY CUSTOMERS
The City of Del Rio does offer payment plans for those behind with delinquent accounts. Additionally, customers are offered payment arrangements with no penalties as long their monthly payments are made in accordance with the agreed arrangement.
Customers who are on a fixed income and unable to make payments on time or experience a water leak may inquire about assistance eligibility from outside resources such as: Bethel Center Food Pantry and Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul and Community Council.
Bethel Center Food Pantry and Salvation Army
(Salvation Army has an office at the Bethel Center)
900 E. 13th Street, Del Rio, Texas 78840
Office: (830) 775-1610
Mobile: (830) 469-9767
Tuesday - Friday 3:00pm-6:00pm
St. Vincent De Paul
510 Wernett, Del Rio, Texas 78840
Office: (830) 775-4753
1690 Cienegas Road, Texas 78840
Office: (830) 768-1054
8:00am-12:30pm & 1:30pm-5:00pm
For more information about Utility Billing fluctuations, please contact the City of Del Rio Utility Billing Department at 830-774-8550 or 830-774-8505.