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Water Meters

The City of Folsom receives water from Folsom Reservoir through a complex set of water rights and contractual agreements. As a result of these agreements, the State required that the City transition its water service customers from a flat rate to a metered rate billing structure. The new rates took effect January 8, 2013.

Water Meter Contacts

  • If I have a question regarding my bill, who do I contact?   
    Service Billing at 355-7295 or
    billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us 
            
  • If I have a question regarding my water usage, who do I contact? 
    The Water Management Program at 355-7252 or
    waterconservation@folsom.ca.us , or Service Billing at 355-7295 or billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us·  
          
  • Who should I contact if I see a leak in a street or on public property?
    During working hours call the Water Division at 351-3361.  For after-hours water emergencies call the Police non-emergency number 355-7231 

Water Conservation Tips


Water Meter FAQs

The following questions/answers pertain only to the water portion of your City of Folsom Utilities bill.  All other elements remain unchanged.
 

    1.        Why were my January and February water bills lower than normal?

January and February bills represented a transition from flat to metered water rates. Our goal was to avoid double billing as metered rates were implemented.  The bill you received in January was a prorated amount to cover the last few days of flat rate billing.  The bill you received in February had no water consumption or flat rate charges.  If you live in the East Area of Folsom you will continue to have a flat East Area Surcharge on your water bill.  At this time the additional charge for this rate is unaffected by metered rates. 

Flat rate water fees are charged at the beginning of the month before you use the water and metered rates are charged at the end of the month for the water you actually used.  The meter reads for January’s water use were collected during the first week of February.  These reads were processed and will appear on the bill you receive the first week of March.

    2.        I expected my metered water bill to be much higher.  Why was January’s bill so low?

The bill you received in January was prorated for the last few days of flat rate charges and did not include any metered water charges.  Your first metered bill for January’s water usage will arrive in early March.

    3.        Will my March water bill be higher than usual to compensate for the lower water bills in January & February 2013?  

 The bill you receive in March will only contain the base and commodity charges for January’s water consumption.  The water portion of your utility bill will show the dates for the period of time that you are being charged for. 

    4.        Why weren’t we told about the change from flat rate to metered rates for water?

The City conducted an extensive public information campaign with inserts in utility bills, articles in local print media, the City Newsletter, and the City website, along with numerous discussions at City Council meetings.  The bill insert “Prepare for Metered billing” has been on our City website since February 2012.  This billing insert was also included in March 2012 bills. 

    5.        Why are we changing to metered billing?  Folsom has always had flat water rates.

AB 2572 was passed and signed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2004. This bill required water meters and metered water rates in all California communities.

    6.        What are the benefits of water meters?

Water meters are an important water management tool that empowers residents to understand how much water they use and how much they can save. With water meters, you pay a small service fee plus a per unit commodity charge based on the amount of water you actually use.  With a little thought towards how you use water you will have an opportunity to lower your water costs.   Water meters also help customers detect leaks and stop waste.

    7.        What am I paying for?

Your water bill has several components -- the base rate, the East Area surcharge for some customers, and the commodity charges. 

Base rate
Single Family                                       $15.00
Single Family Low Income                      $9.45
Manufactured Home                              $6.83
Manufactured Home Low Income           $4.27
Condominium                                      $9.45
East Area Surcharge (click for map)     $12.00

         Commodity charges
            1st Tier            0 – 20 CCF                 $1.08/CCF      up to 14,960 gallons
            2nd Tier           21 – 40 CCF               $1.30/ CCF     14960 to 29920 gallons
            3rd Tier           41 CCF and above      $1.60/CCF      29920 gallons and above

    8.        What is a CCF? 

A CCF is 100 Cubic Feet or 748 gallons.  The CCF is the billing unit for the City of Folsom water service. 

    9.        What is a CF? 

A CF is 1 Cubic Foot or 7.48 gallons. 

    10.     Where does the money go?

As required by state law, any fee collected by public/municipal utilities (water, sewer, and garbage in Folsom’s case), can only be used to support that utility and its operations.

    11.    Do you bill us in advance for water? 

Metered water charges are not billed in advance.  The old flat rate water charges were not dependent on usage and were billed at the beginning of the month for the upcoming month’s water service. Metered water charges are determined after the water has been used.  Meter reads are taken early in the month to measure the previous month’s usage. 

    12.   How did you determine what the rates should be? Won’t you be charging us too much for water now?

According to state law, the fees for a commodity provided by a public entity must reflect the cost of providing that commodity.  In Folsom’s case, a study was conducted to determine what that cost is and what the average water use of a Folsom residence is.  The metered rate was designed so that the water bill of an average water customer should be near the old flat rate.  Those studies can be found on the City website at http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/environmental_n_water_resources_(formerly_utilities)/proposed_rate_changes/default.asp.

    13.    What is the average water consumption for a household in Folsom?

 The average monthly household consumption in Folsom is 22.5 CCF.

    14.   When did metered rates become effective?

Metered rates became effective January 8, 2013.

    15.   Will water be on a separate bill and how often will I be billed?

Your water charges will remain on your City of Folsom Utilities Bill and you will continue to be billed monthly.

    16.   My water bill is too high.  What assistance can the City provide to help me lower it?

Contact the City’s Water Conservation Program at waterconservation@folsom.ca.us or 355-7252.  We’ll analyze your past and current water use and schedule an appointment to visit your property. We can check for any possible problems with your plumbing and sprinkler systems

    17.   Can I see how much water I used last year compared to this year?

 Yes, there is a chart on your Utility Bill comparing your current water usage to last year’s water usage.  You can also view your consumption on the City website.  To set up an account follow this link…

 http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/management_n_budget_(formerly_finance)/billing/default.asp

 If you have any further questions, please call 916-355-7295 or email billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us for assistance.

    18.  What if I think the consumption record is inaccurate?

Call Utilities Billing at 916-355-7295 or billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us to report your concerns.  We will check our data and your meter.  If no problems are found, the issue will be forwarded to our Water Conservation Division for further investigation.

    19.  I currently have a reduced bill through the Utility Assistance Program.  Will my water bill still be reduced?

Yes, there is a lower base rate for those on the Utility Assistance Program, $9.45 vs. $15.00.  Your commodity rate for water will be the same as everyone else.

    20.  I live in a condo.  Do I get any sort of break in water charges for that?

Yes there is a lower base rate for condominiums, $9.45 vs. $15.00.  Your commodity rate remains the same.  However, since you don’t have a landscape to water your average usage should be lower than a detached single family home. 

     21.  Does Folsom offer a Balanced Payment Plan for metered water so I can pay the same amount each month?

 Yes, email Billing Webmail, billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us, and ask about budget billing.

     22.  I currently pay my utility bill electronically through my bank.  Now that my water bill is no longer a set fee and will vary monthly will that option still be available?

If you pay your account electronically through your bank with the ‘bill payment’ option, you will need to adjust the amount manually each month for the varying bill.
If you have your account set up on bank draft/auto pay through the City of Folsom, your account will be drafted the billed amount on the 15th of every month.
If you pay your account with a recurring credit card through our City website, your account will be paid according to the billed amount each month.
For further clarification on this, please contact 916-355-7295 or billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us

    23.  Looking at my consumption history it appears I have been overcharged in the past.  Will I get a refund based on this?

Call Utilities Billing at 355-7295 or billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us to report your concerns.  We will check our data and your meter.  If no problems are found, the issue will be forwarded to our Water Conservation Division for further investigation.

    24.  I turned off my sprinklers last month so why was the consumption on my latest bill so high?

Your metered water bill lags about 30 days behind the period that you actually used the water.  Meter readings are collected at the beginning of the month for the previous month’s water use.  Those readings are processed, printed and mailed to you in the first week of the next month.  For instance: August water consumption is determined by a meter reading in the first week of September.  That reading is processed and mailed to you in the first week of October.  So the water bill you receive in October would be for  water used in August.

    25.  Will I still be charged for having a pool?

The pool surcharge is no longer in effect.  With metered water rates you are paying directly for the water you use in your pool so the surcharge is no longer necessary.

    26.  How much will it cost to fill up my pool?

 That depends on the size of your pool.  A pool with the following dimensions, 30’ x 15’ x 6’ would have a volume of 2,700 cubic feet or 20,196 gallons.  For billing purposes 2,700 cubic feet = 27 hundred cubic feet (CCF), Folsom’s billing unit.  The amount you would pay, over and above your normal water use for the 27 CCF required to fill the pool would be $37.20.

 Here’s the math. 

  Assuming that filling the pool will be in addition to your normal household water use we will calculate the cost of the 27 CCF of water using the second tier rate of $1.30 per CCF and the third tier rate of $1.60 per CCF. 

 2nd Tier costs are - 20 CCF (x) $1.30 = $26.00
 3rd Tier costs are - 7 CCF (x) $1.60 = $11.20

 The cost to fill our average pool would be - $26.00 + $11.20 = $37.20

    27.  I have two residences on my property, a main house and a “granny flat” which are billed separately.  How will metered billing affect my water bills and can I request a second meter?

There is only one meter installed per parcel and water charges are applied to the main account.  If you have any further questions on this, please call  916-355-7295 or billingwebmail@folsom.ca.us

    28.  Who is responsible for fixing leaks if I have one?

 Repairs on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

    29.  Will I get any discount or cost break if I have a leak?

No. Once the water passes through your meter, it is your responsibility.

    30.  I wasn’t aware of a leak which increased my water bill.  Why do I have to pay for it?

Once the water passes through the meter and into your system it is your responsibility.  While the City works hard to be proactive and prevent unnecessarily high bills and water waste, the ultimate responsibility for maintaining water systems on private property belong to the property owner. 

     31.  How do I know if I have a leak?

The following link will take you through steps to help you determine whether you have a leak.    Click here 


32.  When was a water meter installed on my property?

Any house built after January 1, 1992 was required to have meter installed during construction.  The City conducted a water meter retrofit program from 2008 through 2010 and installed approximately 5,000 water meters in homes built before 1992.  The majority of meters were installed in 2009.

     33.  Where is my water meter?

That depends on the type and age of your property.  Residential water meters are inside a gray rectangular utility box near the front curb.  For most single family residences it will be near a property line a few feet back from the curb.  Normally a “W” is stamped on the curb where the pipe connecting the main to your meter crosses into your property.

    34.  I haven’t seen any meter readers.  How do you read the water meters?

Our meters are on an AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure)network.  .  Each meter is equipped with a transmitter that reads the meter and sends the read to our computer servers once every 24 hours. The system consists of transmitters on each meter, repeaters that capture transmissions from multiple meters and resends them to servers where they are processed and stored.

    35.  What if my water meter malfunctions?

Malfunctions can be detected in several ways.  The customer reports a problem, our system detects an anomaly, or Utility Billing notices the problem.  Once the problem is noted a technician is sent to physically check the meter.  The technician will verify the reading against our records or check for other problems such as a leak in the customer’s system that could account for spikes in use or unusually high readings. As meters age they tend to slow down.  The most common meter malfunction is to under-read the amount of water passing through it. 

    36.  Who is responsible for maintaining the meter box and meter at my property?

The box and meter belong to the City and are maintained by the City.  However, you could be held liable for damage due to your actions.

    37.  How can I lower my water use? Any tips?

The City’s Water Conservation Program is ready to help.  Call  916-355-7252 or waterconservation@folsom.ca.us.  Also, there’s helpful information on our website at http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/environmental_n_water_resources_(formerly_utilities)/default.asp.

    38.  What is the most significant thing I can do to lower my overall water costs? 

The largest percentage of water use in Folsom is for landscape irrigation.  The best way to capture water savings is to adjust your watering schedule seasonally.  In the spring begin watering with a modest watering schedule after the rains have stopped.  Gradually increase irrigation, building up to a full summer schedule.  In late summer (late August/early September) you may begin to gradually decrease your watering until it is time to turn the sprinklers off for the winter.  In most years your landscape will do just fine with your sprinklers off from late October through early March.

    39.  I don’t understand how my irrigation controller works.  Where can I find help?

Most manufacturers have made the instruction manual for their products available on-line.  If you have the manual but still need assistance you may want to schedule a free water-wise house call.  A city water conservation specialist will come out and teach you how your controller works and help determine an appropriate watering schedule.  Contact the City’s Water Conservation Program at 355-7252 or waterconservation@folsom.ca.us.   

    40.  My neighbor has a house full of people and I am the sole occupant of my home.  Why is my water usage the same or higher than theirs?

Your water usage is affected by several factors.  Do you have any leaks?  Even small leaks in toilets, showers, faucets, or sprinkler systems can result in a higher bill.  Do you overwater your landscape?  60% - 70% of an average home’s water use is outdoors and overwatering is not uncommon.

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