Monthly bills start to arrive next week
|The next wave of water billing for Baltimore City customers begins now.
The nearly four-decade-old billing system used by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) has been replaced with modern, state-of-the-art software and hardware. The first of the new, monthly bills for customers in the City will be mailed the middle of next week and continue into November. The first monthly bills – which replace four-time-per-year bills – will reflect changes that go into effect today, Oct. 11.
DPW Director Rudy S. Chow, P.E., noted that more than two years ago the department began updating its old water metering system with new technology that allows for automated, wireless, hourly collection of water consumption data.
“This is a very exciting time for the City of Baltimore,” said Director Chow. “It is virtually unprecedented for a city, especially one of Baltimore’s size, to take replace its metering and billing systems simultaneously.”
He added, “I’m happy for our customers, who will benefit from efficient, reliable, accurate metering and billing, and pleased with our team of contractors who helped us through these changes. Most importantly, I’m proud of the DPW employees who are reinventing their jobs in order to provide even better service.”
New look, new format
The bills break out charges for water and sewer consumption, infrastructure, and account management. Fees for Bay Restoration and Stormwater will remain on the bills, but pro-rated monthly instead of quarterly.
The new bills will no longer be based on a predetermined, minimum amount of water, regardless of how much customers actually used. Now, customers will be able to lower their bills by using less water. Customers in the City can preview the impact of the new rate structure by using the rate calculator on the DPW website.
About two weeks after they receive their first bill, account owners will get a letter from DPW with information – including an activation code – that will help them log into the new self-service portal. Customers will be able to use this secure databank see how much water they use hour by hour, thus alerting them to unexpected water usage that could be costing them money.
Due to the transition from a quarterly to monthly schedule, these first monthly water bills might reflect as much as 45 days of water use. Subsequent bills will be sent on a regular monthly schedule.
Customers are asked to be patient in the early days of the new billing system. Dozens of customer support agents are taking phone calls and seeing walk-in customers, and there may be slightly elevated wait times as the agents work through the volume of inquiries.
BaltiMeter Billing is part of DPW’s ongoing investments to modernize the City’s infrastructure and ensure our goal of efficient, reliable, accurate water billing service. In addition to the rate calculator, customers can find a sample bill, a fact sheet, information about payment assistance plans, and more at PublicWorks.BaltimoreCity.gov.