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BILLING ADJUSTMENTS

BILLING ADJUSTMENTS

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BILLING ADJUSTMENTS

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  1. BILLING ADJUSTMENTS Utilities Department Orange County Board of County Commissioners March 20, 2012

  2. Presentation Outline • Background • Response • Existing Billing Adjustments • Recommendation

  3. Presentation Outline • Background Response Existing Billing Adjustments Recommendation

  4. Background • Homeowners who replace their lawn may face very high water bills • The price of water in the two highest rate tiers was increased substantially in 2007 and again in 2009 to promote conservation • No form of relief under existing business practices

  5. Background • High water bills due to lawn replacement was discussed • September 13, 2011 • February 7, 2012 • Board direction to review current business practices • Increase public awareness • Consider financial relief

  6. Water Use Categories (per capita 130g/day) Toilet 130 GPD/capita (12%) Showers (7%) Faucets (6%) Outdoor Bathtub (54%) (2%) Dishwasher (1%) Clothes Washer (12%) Leaks Other (5%) (1%) Background

  7. Water Conservation Modify behaviors and practices that lead to more efficient water use Improve or take advantage of new technologies to reduce water consumption Three components Education programs Incentive programs Regulatory programs Education Incentive Regulatory Background

  8. Education School Programs Home Improvement and Garden Centers Composting and Rain Barrel Workshops Residential Irrigation Workshops Florida Friendly Landscape Workshops Website EPA Water Sense Partner Irrigation Focus Group Education 90% Incentive Regulatory Background

  9. Incentive Mobile Irrigation Lab Audits Toilet Voucher Program Pre-rinse Spray Valve Program Low-Flow Fixture Program Background

  10. Regulatory Water Watch Program Educational Contacts Timer Resets Violation Notices Violation Hearings Fines Issued Background

  11. Background • OCU Rate tier structure • Inclining block rates • Conservation price signal

  12. St. Johns River WMD South Florida WMD Background Water Management Districts Requirements • Irrigation of new landscape is allowed • any time of day on any day for first 30 days • every other day for the next 30 days • limited to the minimum necessary for such landscape establishment

  13. Background • Homeowners directed by landscaping companies to water excessively • Monthly water bill can be in the $600 to $1,000 range or higher • Lawn replacement affects a small segment of the customer base • Approximately 300 customer inquiries annually • Utilities we queried have no policies for financial relief

  14. Presentation Outline • Background • Response • Existing Billing Adjustments • Recommendation

  15. Response • Increase customer education on lawn irrigation requirements • Consider modifying business practices to provide financial relief

  16. Response • Increase public education • Bill messages • Bill stuffers • Website presence • Landscape companies • IFAS / Cooperative Extension – recommended irrigation guidelines for new lawns

  17. Response • Modify current business practices to provide financial relief one time per year per home • Homeowners requesting lawn replacement adjustment must: • Complete application and provide documentation of lawn replacement • Pay bill or establish satisfactory payment arrangement in the interim

  18. Response • Utilities staff will: • Calculate previous 12-month average water usage • Compare average to usage during lawn replacement time period to determine water usage to be adjusted • Calculate adjustment for water usage in excess of the average • Usage above the average will be billed at appropriate rate tier • Adjust wastewater portion of bill if average usage falls below the 14,000 gallon cap for residential customers

  19. Response

  20. Response

  21. Response Customer Savings of $711.70

  22. Presentation Outline • Background • Response • Existing Billing Adjustments • Recommendation

  23. Existing Billing Adjustments • High bill issue brought up for discussion during February 7, 2012 BCC meeting during public comment and open discussion • Board directed staff to review unexplained one time spikes in residential water consumption

  24. Existing Billing Adjustments • Pool Fill • Leak • Fast Flow • Unexplained

  25. Existing Billing Adjustments • Pool Fill • One time per year / per account • Provides financial relief when customer supplies repair documentation • Provides financial relief on wastewater portion of the bill only • 12-month average usage is used to calculate wastewater adjustment for the month • Processed 541 pool fill adjustments in FY11 totaling $11,830

  26. Existing Billing Adjustments • Leak Adjustment • One time per year / per account • Provides financial relief when customer supplies repair documentation • Consumption over average is not subject to wastewater charges • 12-month average usage is used to calculate water adjustment for the month • Additional usage over average is billed at base rate • Processed 3,342 leak adjustments in FY11 totaling $1,115,760

  27. Existing Billing Adjustments • Fast Flow Adjustment • As tested and verified • Meters are removed and bench tested adhering to AWWA standards (±1.5%) • Meters registering above 101.5% threshold are provided adjustment for past 12 months • Usage for prior 12 months adjusted based on AWWA standard • Processed 222 fast flow adjustments in FY11 totaling $23,790

  28. Existing Billing Adjustments • Unexplained Adjustment • Covered under Resolution No. 91-SW-09 • Resolution predates the current 5 tier inclining block rate structure • Provides financial relief to customers who experience high usage with no discernable explanation • Processed 36 unexplained adjustments in FY11 totaling $19,190

  29. Presentation Outline • Background • Response • Existing Billing Adjustments • Recommendation

  30. Recommendation • Coordinate with County Attorney to draft resolution to address all five billing adjustment types going forward • Lawn Replacement • Pool Fill • Leak • Fast Meter • Unexplained • New resolution will come back to BCC

  31. BILLING ADJUSTMENTS Utilities Department Orange County Board of County Commissioners March 20, 2012