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High Consumption Abatement Policy

Statement of Intent:

The District recognizes that a high water bill resulting from an accidental, unpreventable water release can present financial hardship to a customer. While most water releases are preventable, there are certain circumstances when an accidental water release cannot be reasonably prevented. The intent of this policy is to establish a one-time abatement, during any ten-year period, for up to half of the excess water consumption above normal consumption, due to an accidental, unpreventable water release.

Abatement Determination Procedure:

1. All customer requests to abate any portion of a metered water bill that is unusually high due to unpreventable leakage shall be reviewed by an Officer of the District on a case-by-case basis. In order to qualify for abatement, a customer’s excess consumption must exceed the greater of 100% or 5000 cubic feet above their normal average consumption. The customer must also prove that the deficiency responsible for leakage has been repaired or corrected. This policy only applies to leaks that have occurred within any previous, immediate six (6) month period.

2. The District shall attempt to notify all customers who, during the course of billing preparation, have been determined to have an unusually high bill resulting from abnormally high consumption.

3. In the event that a customer cannot determine the source or cause of the abnormally high consumption, the customer is required to hire a private licensed plumber to assist the customer in trying to determine said source or cause. If the plumber is unable to determine the source or cause of the abnormally high consumption, the District can only speculate that the customer has located and repaired or corrected said source. If the customer claims that said source never existed, the District shall test the meter and make an adjustment to the bill in accordance with MPUC requirements for meters found to be over-recording. If the meter test reveals an accurate or under-recording meter, the customer shall be held responsible for the entire bill.

4. In the event the source or cause of the abnormally high consumption is related to a leak due to customer negligence such as the failure to maintain internal (private) plumbing fixtures in good repair and/or protect plumbing from freezing, the customer shall be held responsible for the entire bill.

5. In the event the abnormally high consumption has occurred due to “unpredictable leakage” not caused by customer negligence, ignorance or unfortunate circumstances, as determined by a District Officer, the District shall consider granting a one-time abatement, per account, during any ten-year period, equal to half of the water consumption above normal consumption. The abatement calculation may consider compensation from any other sources, including insurance policy claims, etc. Normal consumption will be the average of at least the previous three years’ consumption history (for similar billing periods) unless deemed otherwise by the Officer. In the event the customer is not satisfied with the decision rendered by the Officer, the customer may appeal to the District’s Board of Trustees who shall render the final decision on such a request.

6. The customer may be required to submit a written statement from their homeowner’s insurance policy provider stating what portion, if any, of the leak is covered by insurance.

7. The District shall not disconnect service (for abnormally high consumption) provided the customer pays the entire amount due within the normal payment period or enters into payment arrangements for the excessive amount and is in good standing on all current billings.

8. This District reserves the right to modify or eliminate this policy without notice.

The following example shows how the abatement is calculated based on rates in effect as of 4/7/15 for a standard 5/8″ meter:

  Consumption Dollar Amount
Total Bill 52,000 c.f. $1286.09
3 year average 1,200 c.f. $45.57
Excess above average 50,800 c.f. $1240.52
Half of excess abated (25,400 c.f.) ($620.26)
Remaining excess 25,400 c.f. $620.26
Customer responsibility 25,400 c.f. $620.26
3 year average  1,200 c.f. $45.57
Total remaining bill due   $665.83