Water rates may have gone up nearly 10 percent (and will continue to do so for the next two years), but at least you’ll soon be able to see how much water you’re using.
Starting Friday, Dec. 2, the Department of Public Works will be making all monthly water bills available to customers online through a service portal that will be accessible from the DPW website. Instead of just getting one bill showing monthly usage, customers will now be able to see how much water they’ve been using by the hour. Data will be available a day after a customer’s home water meter records their usage, according to a release from the department.
Given the rate hike, many customers will be looking to track their consumption so they can try to bring their bills down. Under the changes to the water billing system that have already happened, that may be difficult. As we noted before, the city eliminated the three-month minimum usage fee of about $100, shifted much of the monetary burden paid by vacant property owners to people who live in and take care of their homes. Combining that change and the 9.9-percent rate hike for water usage, it’ll difficult to lower bills back to levels near what they were before.
(The water rate hike isn’t all that bad in the bigger picture, of course. The city has said the increased revenue from water customers will be used to fund much-needed renovations of Baltimore’s sewer and water infrastructure.)
Once we’re all used to our higher water bills, the portal will make it easier to tell how to lower our consumption at various points in the day. It’ll also make it glaringly obvious if a leak has sprung, a faucet is dripping or if a water service line may be broken.
Property owners should be getting a letter from DPW with an activation code for their online portal account by early next week. Once they use that code to register for a profile, they’ll be able to monitor their usage, submit customer service requests or dispute their water bills with the folks over at DPW online.
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