City Council approves water bill adjustment process to alleviate cost of leaks

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 4/6/21

In a brief special meeting held Monday afternoon, Katy City Council unanimously approved a process for residents who saw increased water bills due to broken pipes during February’s Winter Storm …

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City Council approves water bill adjustment process to alleviate cost of leaks

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In a brief special meeting held Monday afternoon, Katy City Council unanimously approved a process for residents who saw increased water bills due to broken pipes during February’s Winter Storm Uri to get a break on their water bills. The process, which requires the resident to request a leak adjustment to their bill, was designed by city staff.

“Staff got together last week with Art (Pertile III, the city’s attorney), and we’ve been talking about (the) West Harris County (Regional) Water Authority and possibly not being able to recoup any credits,” said City Administrator Byron Hebert. “Well, West Harris County Water Authority did adopt a resolution on their side that we want to put together (as a) policy and in their resolution, it says we can get credits, but we have to have it in the governing body’s minutes, showing that we adopted a policy to give credits back to customers.”

Hebert said that, once the policy adoption is recorded, the city can take the credits it gets from the WHRWA and pass those on to residents whose water bills were increased as a result of pipes breaking because of the storm.

According to the newly adopted policy, residents with water bills that exceeded 10% or more water usage increases as a result of the storm and associated damage must submit an application to the city for relief. The application form, which is already available on the city’s website (see sidebar) will require the resident’s account number, contact information and proof that the leak has been found and repaired. Applications for relief are due no later than May 31, 2021, the policy states.

To allow residents time to request adjustments to their bills, the city will be waiting until April 22 to perform auto-drafts for the billing cycle that is eligible for relief, Hebert said.

Hebert said that residents who had conducted the repairs on the leak themselves with items they already owned needed to contact the city when the form was completed and describe the process for the leak repair so the city could verify that the timeline for the associated water bill spike matched the resident’s claim.

Once reviewed by city staff and all criteria for relief are met, the resident’s bill will be adjusted to the usage indicated by their meter for the Jan. 15 to Feb. 14 billing cycle, Hebert said.

Hebert said he estimates about 375 households within the city would be able to file for relief.

To apply for aid, Katy residents should visit:

https://www.cityofkaty.com/Home/Components/News/News/390/158

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