Some utility account fees changing on April 1
Fees associated with some Fort Worth utility account services are changing on April 1. The changes are aimed at eliminating inefficient field services and bringing most charges to cost of service. In addition, the changes reduce the fees for delinquent customers and keep the cost low for establishing new service or transferring service.
Most account and field services fees have not been revised in at least 10 years, with many fees remaining the same since the 1980s. That fact, along with the need to update processes given new technologies, led to a comprehensive fee review by the water utility.
The new meters that are now being installed use a radio signal to transmit data. This means the meters are more expensive so costs associated with tampering and theft are increasing. When tampering or theft occurs, the utility is able to respond quicker because of the information it is receiving from the meter.
The new meters provide hourly rather than monthly usage data via radio signal so the need to do field investigations is reduced. The utility anticipates having the new meters installed across the city by the end of 2022. Customers who request field investigations or meter replacements after an investigation has been performed will incur a cost for those services.
Customers who want same-day or same-day, after-hours meter activation or reactivation of service will pay higher charges for those requests. Meter activations normally occur within two business days after the customer request.
The cost for requests made for same-day service activation or transfer increase from an additional $10 to additional $25 above the standard fee. Same-day, after-hours activation costs are changing from an additional $25 to an additional $50 above the standard fee.
Same-day, after-hours activation costs apply to all activation requests submitted after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for service the same day. All same-day, after-hours service requests must be submitted prior to 6 p.m. Meter activations are not performed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Prior to moving forward with the recommendations that were adopted by the City Council in December, the utility staff weighed the impact of cost responsibility and affordability. The new fee structure related to delinquency helps reduce the types of fees that can cause a financially struggling customer to get further behind in their bill payment.