There are several benefits to switching from bi-monthly billing to monthly billing for both the customer and the utility.
In the coming years, the City of Bellingham water, sewer and stormwater utility bill is expected to have rate increases to help cover future infrastructure projects such as the Post Point Wastewater Resource Recovery Project; customers may find it easier to cover these rate increases over more payments.
The transition will begin January 1, 2022. Customers will begin their monthly billing cycle once they have completed their last 2021 bi-monthly billing cycle (bill that contains any 2021 dates).
This depends on when your last bi-monthly billing cycle ends. Utility customers will begin to see monthly billing in February, some customers may not see their first monthly bill until mid-March.
AutoPay customers will have their monthly bills directly deducted from their bank account, there is no action required for customers enrolled in AutoPay for the switch to monthly billing.
Customers will see smaller bills monthly, rather than a larger bill every other month. This will help some customers financially plan for their bills.
Leaks can be detected faster because meter reads and reporting will happen twice as often. A leak is usually detected by a spike in water usage and customers are notified by the utility. Customers will be notified up to 30 days quicker, saving both water and money.
And, with monthly billing customers will be able to see and react to behavior changes in water use. Customers can see the benefits of installing low-flow toilets and faucets faster. As well as see summer spikes in water usage and consider outdoor water conservation methods to avoid high bills.
Though the utility will see an increase in work for monthly meter reading and billing, there are benefits in water conservation and account management.
Monthly billing will reduce unaccounted for water, this is the water that leaks into the ground before being uses; primarily after personal account meters. With meters being read monthly, leaks can be detected and fixed in half the time. This potentially can save 50% of the unaccounted for water.
Monthly billing is also expected to decrease the number of delinquent accounts. With smaller monthly bills for water, sewer and stormwater, households will be able to financially plan easier. This will reduce the accounts that have delinquent payments.
The water, sewer, stormwater utility bill is made up of the connection fee and usage fee. The connection fee cannot be reduced; however, through conservation you can reduce your usage portion of the bill.
Water conservation, both inside and outside will help reduce your utility bill. Some ways to save include:
- Finding and fixing leaks
- Installing low-flow toilets and fixtures
- Washing only full loads of dishes and laundry
- Practice summertime outdoor water conservation practices including letting your lawn go dormant by not watering it, water before 10 am to reduce water loss from evaporation, planting drought-tolerant and native plants, and following the voluntary watering schedule.
For more information on water conservation, visit cob.org/conserve.