United Water Westchester has entered into a unique public-private partnership with the Village of Port Chester, New York, to provide sewer billing and collection services. Under the terms of the multi-year contract, the company will also provide related customer service for approximately 5,000 residential and business accounts. The agreement was approved earlier this year by the New York State Public Service Commission.
“Port Chester’s new approach to billing for sewer services is an innovative public-private partnership between the Village and United Water,” said Mayor Neil J. Pagano. “Although this is not new across the country, we are breaking ground in New York State. Based on my discussions with other municipal officials in Westchester County, the Village is leading the way.”
The Village explained that the Sewer Rent Program moves the cost of sanitary sewer upgrades, repairs, and maintenance away from property taxes and more fairly apportions the associated costs through a user fee by capturing all users of the sanitary sewer system. The Village will be responsible for setting the associated sewer rent rate(s) on an annual basis. However, it will no longer be including the cost of sewer services in tax bills. Instead, residents will receive a separate bill based on the actual volume of water used and not based on the value of taxable assessed property.
All user fees collected will be reserved in the Sewer Fund to pay for expenses related to repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to the Village’s sanitary sewer infrastructure. The sewer rent rate is set annually and budgeted by Fiscal Year.
United Water currently provides water service in the Village. The company will use water usage data to provide accurate and timely billing for residents and businesses. “United Water has been providing water service in Port Chester since 2007,” said Michael Pointing, vice president and general manager of the United Water New York Division. “We are pleased that we were selected to provide this new service and we look forward to enhancing the customer experience through this progressive public-private partnership.”
United Water’s Oracle-based Customer Contact and Billing (CC&B) system provides extensive functionality to support all aspects of billing, collections and customer relations. As a result, United Water will introduce a suite of enhanced billing and payment services for the sewer customers.
Customers can pay their sewer bill:
· By mail
· APS/Check Free Convenient Payment Locations
· With a credit card over the telephone or on-line at www.unitedwater.com (a convenience fee is charged to the customer for this payment option)
· 24 hours a day using self-service options, either over the phone or via www.unitedwater.com
Pointing noted that the company looks forward to discussions with other municipalities which may be interested in this model. “Not only will our CC&B system provide value to client communities but spreading costs of the billing system over a wider base will benefit existing customers as well,” he said.
Residents will soon receive their first sewer rent bill. It will be a separate bill similar in form and content to their current water bill. The first sewer rent bill is based upon total water consumption since June 1, 2013 or the past fiscal year’s consumption. Moving forward, customers will be billed monthly for sewer rent fees if they receive a monthly water bill or quarterly for sewer rent fees if they receive a quarterly water bill. Each bill will be based upon the total water consumption for that period.
United Water will continue to send customers separate water bills.
For additional information, customers can contact the following:
Sewer Service Questions
Call the Port Chester DPW: 914-939-5207
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30 - 11:30 am and 12:30 - 3:30 pm
Sat: 7:30-11:30am (April 1-Dec.1)
Sewer Billing Questions
Call United Water: 888-876-1672
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm
ABOUT UNITED WATER
United Water provides water service to about 200,000 people in Westchester County. Its parent company, United Water, is one of the nation’s leading environmental companies, providing water and wastewater services to approximately 5.3 million people in the United States. In addition to owning and operating 16 water and wastewater utilities, United Water operates 84 municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems through innovative public-private partnerships and contract agreements. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.