Water Meter Q&A

When will meters be installed?
All meters must be installed and billed by a volumetric rate by 2013.

Am I going to see a big difference in my water bills?
The City of Fresno has designed the new water meter rates to be “revenue neutral”. That means that the average Fresno water customer is projected to pay the same amount for water as they do now on an annual basis. Those water customers who are already water conservers may be likely to experience an annual savings. Those customers who tend to waste water and not fix leaks may be seeing an increase in their annual water bills. If you would like to prepare for the conversion to water meter rates and desire information about fixing leaks and conservation please call for our FREE services at 621-5480.

Why can’t the City wait to start charging a metered rate until all residents have water meters?
Although there may be a desire to wait, AB 514 (2003) requires that cities like Fresno who use Central Valley Project water be fully transitioned to meters by 2013. This mandate also requires us to begin charging a volumetric rate to customers who have meters installed as of January 2010. Converting all homes to water meters at once would be nice, however, state legislation won’t allow for it. All customers (multi-family, commercial, industrial, etc.) except single family residents already have meters and are already being billed a metered rate. Since about one-third of Fresno residents live in apartments or condos, this means that one-third of Fresno residents already pay a metered rate.

Can I install my own meter?
No. The State of California Department of Health Services requires that individuals working on potable (drinking water) systems be certified by the state to ensure the water does not become contaminated and the installation is done correctly.

Do I already have a water meter?
As of January 1, 1992, California law required all new services to include a water meter. If your house was built in 1992 or thereafter, there is a high probability that you have a water meter at your property. (The City has been incrementally installing these meters and some subdivisions are remaining.) All customers (multi-family, commercial, industrial, etc.) except single family residents already have meters and are already being billed a metered rate.

How can I check to see if I have a meter?
Look for the water service box near your property line at the front of your home. If there is a meter, it should be inside that box. Not all water mains are in the street, some are located in the backyard easements or alleys. Typically these water meters have not been installed at these locations (with the exception of some County islands).

When will the City begin reading all meters at single family residences?
In 2009, the City of Fresno began reading meters and collecting water usage data at 70 homes in Fresno. These 70 homes are Fresno families who have volunteered to be in the Water Meter Pilot program. The City has begun phasing in the reading of meters in different geographic areas of the City and will continue until all are being read in 2013.

Is money available in the current budget for meter installation?
Yes, money for water meters is contained in the current budget within the five-year capital plan.

What will my new meter cost?
Estimated costs of retrofitting* a basic meter set up averages $500 to $600 per installation. The City has pursued low interest loans and grants to help finance the project. The balance will be financed with long-term municipal bonds. The cost for the meter installation will be spread over the life of the bond (typically 20 years) and the pro-rated costs have been included in the water portion of your utility bill.

*Retrofit is when a water meter is fit into your existing service. That meter will be used to measure the quantity of water passing through the water service to your property.

If I already have an existing meter, will I get a new updated meter?
Yes, all residents will receive the same updated quality and technology standardized meter. Any home currently equipped with an older meter will receive an upgrade. We are pleased to report that all meters being replaced will be recycled.

What will my new water billing rate be?
Prior to applying a volumetric rate to single family homes, the City embarked on a comprehensive water rate study to ensure fair and equitable charges. The volumetric rate that is currently being vetted through a lengthy approval process is designed to be “revenue neutral”. That means that the average Fresno water customer is projected to pay the same amount for water as they do now on an annual basis. There are seasonal trends for water use, similar to gas and electric, although during a 12 month cycle, the amount charged is projected to stay the same. Those that are more likely to experience a change in the bills annually are extreme water conservers who may see a savings or customers who tend to waste water and not fix leaks may be seeing an increase in their bills.

The voters in Fresno passed an amendment to the City Charter prohibiting the reading of water meters for billing purposes for single family residential users. Why are meters now mandatory?
As of January 1, 1992, California law required all new services to include water meter installation. On October 10, 2003, Governor Davis signed Assembly Bill 514 (2003) requiring water meters on all water services. Under language in that bill, the City of Fresno is required to charge a volumetric rate to all its customers by 2013. AB514 Section 1. (f): This act addresses a subject matter of statewide concern, and it is the intent of the Legislature to supersede and preempt any enactment of a county or city, including a charter county or charter city, or other local public agency, to which this act applies.

What does Fresno’s renewal of its Central Valley Project (CVP) water contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have to do with installation of water meters?
Fresno receives 60,000 acre-feet of high quality water annually from behind Friant Dam, which is delivered to ponding basins for recharging the underground water supply, and also for Fresno's Surface Water Treatment Facility to treat and deliver to customers. The contract for the water supply is secured for nearly a 40-year term, expiring February 28, 2045. A condition of renewal requires that the City measure (meter) all water deliveries to customers. To comply with the terms of the contract, the City will install meters in all single-family residences that do not already have meters. The multi-year installation project will occur until 2013, and will involve approximately 80,000 to 105,000 homes in the City of Fresno service area.

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1910 E. University Ave.
Fresno, CA 93703-2927
(559) 621-5300
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