Operating Rules - Chapter 6 - Rates and Billing

CHAPTER 6 – RATES AND BILLING


6.01     Payment Responsibility.  Rates and charges are assessed against the licensed premises.  It is the responsibility of the licensee to keep the license in force by paying all charges against the licensed premises, even in the absence of receiving a bill.

6.01.1  Payment Required for Continued Service.  Water service, including fire protection service, may be suspended, using the procedures described in Chapter 2, at any premises against which any charge becomes delinquent and remains unpaid. Charges include any rate, fee, cost, charge, surcharge or rent relating to the provision of water service to the licensed premises. For those premises against which bankruptcy or other legal actions are pending or filed, Denver Water will abide by the law and orders of the court.

6.01.2  Billing Address.  A bill for water service will be sent to the licensed premises. If the licensed premises is a rental, a bill will be sent to both the licensed premises and the owner of the property. Denver Water will also send bills to an address other than the licensed premises upon request. Mailing of a bill for water service to an address other than the licensed premises shall in no way affect the power of Denver Water to enforce payment of charges by discontinuing service to the licensed premises.

6.02     Metered Service Rates.

6.02.1  Cost of Service.  Denver Water sets rates for water service based on a cost of service study.  All customers are grouped into various customer classes based on several factors, including.

a.         Type of premises or use, e.g., single family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, etc.

b.         Inside Denver or Outside Denver.  Licensed premises outside Denver are further classified by level of service provided under the applicable Distributor Contract.

c.         Type of water provided.

6.02.2  Establishing Rates for Metered Service.  Denver Water periodically establishes rate schedules, including Consumption Charges and Service Charges, for the various types of metered service.  Rates are adopted at public meetings of the Board and are made available on Denver Water’s web site.

6.03     Other Types of Rates

6.03.1  Fire Protection Service.  Denver Water periodically establishes a rate schedule for unmetered fire protection service.  Billing charges are due and payable on a date established by Denver Water.  Any fire protection service provided through a meter shall be charged according to the appropriate metered service rate schedule.  If a detector check meter detects unauthorized water use on a fire line, the licensee will be charged a service charge, the applicable consumption charge for any water consumed, as well as a charge for unauthorized use.

6.03.2  Nonmetered Service.  Denver Water may establish rate schedules for nonmetered water service, such as deliveries of nonpotable raw water directly to a customer or use of nonpotable water in augmentation plans.

6.04     Billing Procedures.

6.04.1  Billing Frequency.

a.         Monthly Accounts.  Monthly accounts will be billed 12 times per calendar year. The due date for payments for water service billed on most monthly accounts will be at least 12 calendar days after the billing date. For City and County of Denver and Master Meter Distributor accounts, the due date will be 25 calendar days after the billing date.

b.         Bimonthly Accounts.  Bimonthly accounts will be billed 6 times per calendar year. The due date for payments for water service billed on a bimonthly basis will be at least 20 calendar days after the billing date.

c.         Other Billing Periods.  Denver Water may require or permit billing at intervals established by an agreement or as determined by the Board.

6.04.2  Group Billing.  Denver Water may establish group billing for multiple, noncontiguous, separately licensed premises whose consumption is paid by a single entity.  Each meter within the group will be assessed a Service Charge, and consumption for each meter will be separately calculated based on the appropriate rate schedule.  A statement (in summary or detail) for all the meters within the group will be sent to one pay agent indicating the total amount due.  A single due date for each bill group will be established by Denver Water and will apply to all licensed premises in the group.  Any penalty, delinquency charge or suspension of service will be applied equally to all accounts within the group.

6.04.3  Interconnected System Billing.  Interconnected systems consist of separately licensed premises that are interconnected behind the meters.  Each meter in the interconnected system will be assessed a Service Charge, and a consumption charge for each meter will be calculated based on the appropriate rate schedule.  A statement (in summary or detail) for all the meters within the system will be sent to one pay agent indicating the total amount due.  The due date for each interconnected system will be established by Denver Water and will apply to all licensed premises within the system.  Any penalty, delinquency charge or suspension of service will be applied equally to all interconnected meters.

6.04.4  Billing for Separately Owned Structures or Units Within a Structure.  Where independent structures or separate units within a structure on a licensed premises are supplied through a common service pipe with a single meter, only one bill will be generated, even if the structures have different ownership.  Denver Water will provide multiple copies of the bill, if requested.  If a charge against the premises becomes delinquent, the delinquency is attributed to all users at the licensed premises served through the common service pipe.

6.04.5  Account Adjustments.  When an error has been made in an account, Denver Water may adjust the amount due or the consumption on the account.

a.         Inaccurate Meter.  If a meter has become inaccurate, Denver Water may charge the account for an estimated level of consumption.  Denver Water will remove and test a meter at the request of the customer or if Denver Water suspects that the meter has become inaccurate.  If a meter is removed and tested at the request of the customer and found to be accurate, the licensed premises shall be subject to special charges to recover Denver Water’s reasonable costs in removing and testing the meter.

b.         Difference between Meter and AMR Device.  If a difference in readings occurs between an automatic meter reading (AMR) device installed at a premises and the register of the water meter, billing will be based on the reading from the register of the water meter. The AMR device will be repaired or replaced at Denver Water’s expense and the customer’s account will be adjusted to represent the consumption shown on the meter register. Denver Water will inspect an AMR device at the request of the customer or if Denver Water suspects that the device has become inaccurate or has malfunctioned. If a device is inspected at the request of the customer and found to be accurate, the licensed premises shall be subject to special charges to recover Denver Water’s reasonable costs in inspecting the device. If the reading on the AMR device matches the reading on the meter register, the AMR device shall be considered accurate.

c.         Leak Adjustments. Denver Water may adjust a customer’s bill if a leak has occurred at a licensed premises that was not reasonably discoverable by the customer. The estimated water loss will be determined by comparing the water use in dispute with the customer’s three year average use within the same portion of the calendar year. The charges for the estimated water loss will be credited to the customer’s account. The adjustment will be conditioned upon Denver Water’s verification of a repair or correction that will prevent additional loss of water. No more than three consecutive monthly bills may be covered by a single adjustment. Adjustments under this section will be limited to no more than two occurrences at a licensed premises in a rolling twelve month period. Following the first bill adjustment at a licensed premises, any subsequent adjustment will be contingent upon an audit and inspection by Denver Water of the licensed premises.

6.04.6  No Authorization to Accept Payment.  Denver Water employees are not authorized to accept payment for water service at the licensed premises or in any manner other than in the usual course of business.

6.05     Delinquency in Payment of Charges.  The failure to pay charges assessed by Denver Water, including charges for fire protection service, in a timely manner shall result in assessment of a delinquency charge and may result in suspension of water service to the premises under the procedures described in Chapter 2.

6.05.1  Timing of Delinquency.  Charges not paid by the due date listed on the bill shall be delinquent.

6.05.2  Delinquency Charge.  All charges that become delinquent during a billing period or remain delinquent from a prior billing period shall be assessed a delinquency charge on the next billing statement of the account.  No delinquency charge will be assessed on any account that is paid in full within five (5) days after the scheduled due date.  The amount of the delinquency charge to be assessed against delinquent charges is determined by applicable state law.

6.05.3  Payment Plans.  Denver Water may grant permission to a customer to pay unpaid water charges pursuant to a specific schedule.  To keep the payment plan in effect, the customer must make the plan payments as scheduled and also pay all current charges.

a.         Plan Payments Unpaid.  If a scheduled plan payment is not made, the payment plan is considered void, and the remaining balance will become due and subject to delinquency charges and suspension of service for nonpayment under Rule 2.10.

6.05.4  Suspension of Service for Delinquency.  Whenever the billing statement of an account includes a delinquency charge or a past due amount, the entire amount of the bill, including delinquent charges, must be paid in full by the due date of the billing statement. If such payment is not made by the due date, additional delinquency charges shall be added to all unpaid charges on subsequent billing statements, and suspension procedures under Rule 2.10 may be initiated.

6.06     Other Charges.

6.06.1  Special Service Fees.  Where employees of Denver Water perform special services for or at the request of an applicant or licensee, or where special services are performed at or in connection with licensed premises to establish compliance with Denver Water Operating Rules and Engineering Standards which the licensee refuses or fails to perform, Denver Water shall be reimbursed for such work.

a.         Denver Water will bill the applicant, licensee, owner or occupant, as the case may be, for reimbursement.  However, upon failure of such person to pay, the cost of the work shall be charged to the licensed premises at which such work was accomplished.  The special service charge will be included in the water bill and will become subject to delinquency charges and suspension of service for nonpayment under Rule 2.10.

b.         The cost of the reimbursement shall be either in accordance with a standard schedule of special fees, or based on actual cost of the services with respect to services not included in the schedule.

6.06.2  Penalty Fees.

a.         Charges for Excessive Use.  Additional charges may be assessed if the licensee’s consumption in a calendar year exceeds the volume of water on which the original SDC was based or the volume of water established in a water budget as a condition of using potable or recycled water to irrigate landscapes of more than one acre under Rule 14.02.2(c).

b.         Charges for Unauthorized Use.  Denver Water may assess a penalty fee for any unauthorized use of water or any diversion of utility service.  The fee will be established in an amount intended to discourage future violations of the Operating Rules and may be charged directly to the licensed premises.

c.         Charges for Unauthorized Operations.  Denver Water may assess civil penalties, including revocation of permits, against any person who operates any valve or fire hydrant or modifies any portion of the Water System without approval from Denver Water.

d.         Subject to Delinquency.  Penalty fees will be included in the water bill and will become subject to delinquency charges and suspension of service for nonpayment under Rule 2.10.

6.06.3  Distributor Improvement Charge.  An additional charge or credit may be added to a customer’s water bill at the request of a Distributor under a Total Service, Total Service Improvement or Read and Bill Distributor Contract.  Denver Water will transfer the proceeds of the Distributor Improvement Charges to the Distributor.  Distributor Improvement Charges are subject to all requirements applicable to other charges imposed by Denver Water.