CFPUA Policies Summary

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) Summary Of Customer Service Policies 


Introduction


This summary of customer service policies is based on the CFPUA Ordinance governing provision of utility services to non-industrial customers and includes administrative policies implemented by the General Manager as authorized by the Ordinance. In the event of any conflict or difference of interpretation between this Summary and the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall be followed.

A copy of the CFPUA Utility Ordinances is available on our Ordinance and Regulations page or may be obtained by calling Customer Service at 910-332-6550.

1. Customer Service General Information


  • 1.1. Customer Service Locations
  • 1.2. Office hours
  • 1.3. Customer Service Phone
  • 1.4. Customer Service email
  • 1.5. Customer Service Website
  • 1.6. Customer Service Fax
  • 1.7. Temporary Interruptions
  • 1.8. Reporting Problems with Water and Sewer Service

2. Setting Up and Terminating Service


  • 2.1. Starting New Service
  • 2.2. Social Security and Drivers License Numbers
  • 2.3. Deposits
  • 2.4. Changing mailing address or phone
  • 2.5. Transferring Service
  • 2.6. Terminating Service
  • 2.7. Suspending Service

3. Billing and Payment


  • 3.1. Bimonthly Bills
  • 3.2. Services Appearing on Bills
  • 3.3. Utility Rates
  • 3.4. Payment Options
  • 3.5. Starting or Stopping Automatic Bank Drafts
  • 3.6. Where to pay
  • 3.7. Due Date
  • 3.8. Late Fees
  • 3.9. Application of Partial Payment
  • 3.10. Returned Checks and Bank Drafts
  • 3.11. Adjustments for Leaks
  • 3.12. Billing Errors
  • 3.13. Appeal Billing Disputes
  • 3.14. Extension of Payments
  • 3.15. Discovery of Unbilled Accounts
  • 3.16. Duplicate Bills
  • 3.17. Third Party Notification

4. Shutting Off Water


  • 4.1. Reasons water service will be shut off
  • 4.2. How to Get Service Turned Back On
  • 4.3. Tampering with Meter

5. Meters Information


  • 5.1. No Obstructions
  • 5.2. No Meter Tampering

6. Backflow Prevention



Customer Service General Information


1.1. Customer Service Locations: CFPUA has 2 locations to serve you:
  • 305 Chestnut Street in downtown Wilmington
  • 235 Government Center Drive, across the street from the New Hanover County Offices
1.2. Office hours: The CFPUA office on Chestnut Street is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the location at 235 Government Center Drive is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CFPUA observes the same holiday schedule as the state of North Carolina offices.

1.3. Customer Service Phone: 910-332-6550

1.4. Customer Service email: customer.service@cfpua.org

1.5. Customer Service Website: www.cfpua.org

1.6. Customer Service Fax: 910-332-6352.

1.7. Temporary Interruptions: From time to time your water service may be interrupted while crews perform routine maintenance, planned replacements, or emergency repairs. You may notice a decrease in water pressure or water quality (unusual odor or color). You may call Customer Service at 910-332-6550 or the Problem/Emergency line at 910-332-6565 for assistance. Notices of planned outages may be publicized on the web, in the newspaper, or on your utility bill.

1.8. Reporting Problems with Water and Sewer Service: Reporting Problems with Water and Sewer Service: For any problems or emergency situations, call 910-332-6565. Examples include if you have no water service or your water is discolored, none of your drains work or sewage backs up into your tub or sink, you see water flowing in the street or smell sewage outside, or you hear an alarm at a water or sewer pump station.

Setting Up & Terminating Service


2.1. Starting New Service: Application forms are available at both CFPUA offices and on the Applications and Forms page. Or you can call the Customer Service number to complete an application over the phone, provided the building already has water service. You will need to pay an application fee and if you have had a history of credit offenses with CFPUA, you may be required to pay a deposit. A customer service representative will contact you to arrange a time to turn water service on. You or a responsible person must be on the premises when the technician arrives to turn the water on. Once the water is turned on, that responsible person should verify that the water service is indeed working and that all faucets are turned off and all connections to appliances such as washing machines and ice makers are secure. CFPUA will not be responsible for damage to property caused by open spigots or cracked hoses. To prevent damage to your hot water heater, you or the other responsible person should also make sure the water valve to the hot water heater is open and that the electric current to the appliance is not turned on until there is enough water inside.

2.2. Social Security and Drivers License Numbers: The application form asks for identifying information to give assurance that CFPUA will be paid for utility services. You do not need to disclose this information, but if you don’t, you may need to pay a deposit before utility service is provided.

2.3. Deposits: Residential customers with no or a poor credit history and new commercial customers may be required to pay a deposit before receiving service.


2.4. Changing mailing address or phone: If your mailing address or telephone numbers change, please notify CFPUA by calling Customer Service at 910-332-6550 or by emailing Customer Service.

2.5. Transferring Service: If you are already a CFPUA customer and will be moving from one location to another also served by CFPUA, you may transfer your service without going through the application process. There is a form you can complete at one of the office locations or you can print one from the Applications and Forms page and send to CFPUA. You will be charged a premise fee to cover the cost of sending out a technician to turn on the water service. That fee will be added to your first bill unless your account is delinquent. CFPUA will require all prior charges and the premise be paid before service at the new location is connected.

2.6. Terminating Service: If you will be moving away, or if you will be totally changing your meter and service (for example replacing a house with a commercial building using a larger meter), call or visit a Customer Service representative to set up when the service is to be stopped. You will be responsible for charges as long as you are the owner of the property. If you do not notify Customer Service prior to the date the property changes hands, there is no way for a meter reader to get an accurate consumption amount. Therefore, you may end up paying for water the new owner has used. If there is no ending meter reading, CFPUA prorates consumption by the number of days the property was owned during that billing period.

2.7. Suspending Service: If you will be temporarily away from your property and want to have the water turned off to avoid worrying about leaks or neighbors attaching hoses to your outside spigots, contact Customer Service to arrange for your water to be turned off. You will be charged a premise visit fee when the technician visits your property to turn the service off and again when it is turned back on. While you will not be billed for any water used, you will be billed for the fixed meter charge (see Section 3.3 below). The purpose of the fixed meter charge is to provide for the capital facilities used and available to provide service to the property, whether or not the owner uses that availability.

Billing and Payment

3.1. Bimonthly Bills: Bills are sent out bimonthly, or in other words, every 2 months.

3.2. Services Appearing on Bills: CFPUA is the billing agent for the City of Wilmington’s storm water and solid waste, so you will see charges for these services along with your water and sewer.

3.3. Utility Rates: You water and sewer charges have two components. The first will remain the same every billing period. The fixed meter charge covers the cost for building and paying debt service on the plants and pipes used to provide water and sewer service. The second component is the consumption charge which covers the cost of treating the water you use and the wastewater you put into the sewers. You meter records how much water you use and is basis for the consumption portion of your bill. You can get a copy of the rate schedule from CFPUA Customer Service representatives or on our Rates and Fees page.

3.4. Payment Options: You can pay your bill using cash, check, money order, or debit/credit card in person at CFPUA offices. You may mail a check using the envelope provided in your bill. You can also make a payment using your credit or debit card over the phone with a Customer Service Representative or by using our Interactive Voice Response System. The easiest and simplest way is to set up an automatic bank draft so you never have to worry about forgetting a payment or finding a stamp. Other ways to pay include EZ-Billing to make credit/debit, e-check payments or set up CFPUA with your online bill pay through your bank.

3.5. Starting or Stopping Automatic Bank Drafts: Starting or Stopping Automatic Bank Drafts: Contact a Customer Service representative to start or stop automatic bank drafts. Forms are also available on our Applications and Forms page.

3.6. Where to pay: CFPUA has two locations
305 Chestnut Street in downtown Wilmington
235 Government Center Drive near the intersection of Eastwood and Market Streets. The CFPUA office on Chestnut Street is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the location at 235 Government Center Drive is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CFPUA observes the same holiday schedule as the state of North Carolina offices. You may also pay online or by calling (910) 332-6550.

3.7. Due Date: Bills are due in 30 days. The due date is printed on your bill.

3.8. Late Fees: Payments not received within 30 days will be charged a late fee of 10% of the outstanding charges. Late fees on disputed bills may be waived if you are following the appeal procedure (see Section 3.13).

3.9. Application of Partial Payment: Application of Partial Payment: In the event payment is made in an amount less than the total due on a bill, any such amount shall be allocated to outstanding charges in the following order: storm water, trash bags, trash services, other charges, sewer, and water.

3.10. Returned Checks and Bank Drafts: If your checks or bank draft is not honored by the bank, you will be charged a fee to reimburse CFPUA for administrative time. You will need to come to the CFPUA office to pay that amount plus the returned check fee in cash. Otherwise you are considered to have not made a payment, and will be subject to any late fees and procedures for collection of past due charges, which could include cutting off your water.

3.11. Adjustments for Leaks: A residential customer may seek an adjustment to an unusually high water bill caused by physical damage to the customer’s water service line. Physical damage means damage to a facility or equipment supplying water to the premises and the damage:
• Is not detectable in the customer’s premises except upon excavation or some other disturbance of the property; and
• Is not the result of an act of the customer, or of any agent or contractor hired by the customer.

A customer may not receive an adjustment unless the customer has paid all outstanding water and sewer bills owed prior to the unusually high water bill. Unusually high water bill means a water and/or sewer bill for a billing cycle that reflects bimonthly water usage, that is at least two (2) times the customer’s average bimonthly usage of the premises as measured during the previous six (6) bimonthly billing periods. The amount of the adjustment for water will be 50% over the average consumption of the previous twelve-month period and 100% over the average for sewer consumption charges if the leak did not enter the sewer system. If the leak enters the sewer system, sewer charges will be for 50% over the average consumption charges for the previous twelve-month period. Adjustments for irrigation leaks may be made for sewer charges only. The amount credited may be 100% of sewer consumption over the highest billed consumption over the previous 24-month period.

A customer is not eligible for a leak adjustment to an unusually high water bill due to circumstances not caused by an undetected leak, leaks that should reasonably have been discovered, high usage caused by negligence or failure to properly maintain pools or water using/consuming devices that may be malfunctioning. Leaks caused by a third party from whom the customer is able to recover their costs will not be considered for a leak adjustment. Examples include, but are not limited to, theft, vandalism, negligence and construction damage, unoccupied or vacant properties. Leaks caused due to the meter being accessed, tampered with, or turned on/off by anyone other than a CFPUA employee that results in loss of water will not be considered for a leak adjustment.

A residential customer is eligible for one leak adjustment in a 24-month period, provided the customer submits documentation of the leak repair within 90 days of the high consumption billing. The customer must complete a Leak Adjustment Request Form stating the type of leak, date of repair, address at which the leak repair was made and the customer for whom the repair was made. The documentation must be submitted by a licensed contractor or plumber. In the event the property owner completes the repair, a receipt showing the parts purchased for the repair must be submitted. Adjustments for irrigation leaks may be made for sewer charges only. The amount credited may be 100% of sewer consumption over the highest billed consumption over the previous 24-month period.

A commercial customer with a meter size 3” or greater is eligible for one leak adjustment for sewer charges only in a 24-month period, provided the customer submits documentation of the leak repair within 90 days of the high consumption billing. The customer must complete a Leak Adjustment Repair Form and submit documentation from a licensed plumber or contractor stating the type of leak, date of repair, address at which the leak repair was made and the customer for whom the repair was made.

A sewer credit will be considered when filling a newly constructed pool or when refilling a pool that has been drained to facilitate a repair. When a customer provides written documentation that a swimming pool has been filled from the internal plumbing system, a sewer credit may be issued based on the metered water volume used to fill the pool. The customer must provide the dimensions of the pool, the volume that was filled, and the dates the pool was filled. For pool fills, your utility account may be credited for wastewater usage based on your average usage for the prior six billing cycles. Customers may receive one pool credit per twelve-month period. Credit is not available for the addition of makeup water due to normal routine maintenance (topping off) nor are credits provided for splasher pools (kiddie pools). Customer must complete the Pool Fill Adjustment Request Form and submit with required documentation as outlined on the form for a sewer credit consideration. 
 
 3.12. Billing Errors: If you believe there is an error in your bill, you should contact a Customer Service Representative within 90 days. If pursuant to a request for adjustment, it is determined that the bill was in error or that an adjustment should rightfully be made, a corrected bill shall promptly be prepared and your account will be adjusted accordingly. A credit will be applied to your account; there will be no cash refunds issued unless your service has been terminated.

3.13. Appeal Billing Disputes: If you disagree with a bill or refusal of a credit or refund for disputed water or sewer charges as determined by the Customer Service Manager, you can file a written request for an appeal hearing to the Director of Customer Service. Such request should be made within ten (10) days after the bill or notification of an assessment for a violation and/or service termination was received. The Director of Customer Service will be the final decision maker for appeals under $500 in value. If you wish to appeal a decision made by the Customer Service Director AND the amount in question is $500 or greater in value, you will need to submit your request in writing to the Director of Engineering and follow the Appeal Hearing process. See Ordinance 5.5 Water and Sewer Bill Appeal.

3.14. Extension of Payments: You are responsible for paying your bill in full by the due date, or you will be charged late fees and your water may be turned off. If you cannot pay in full by the due date, call a Customer Service Representative to see if you qualify for assistance.

3.15. Discovery of Unbilled Accounts: If we discover that you have received water and/or sewer service but we have not billed you or not billed you correctly, we may send you a bill for up to three years of service, even if you received service for more than three years and were not billed for it. No interest charges are included for unbilled past service. Of course, if your account has been in your name for less than three years, or if we can determine that the billing error or omission began less than three years ago, we will prepare the bill accordingly. If the amount due is large (see Section 3.15 above), you may qualify for installment payments.

3.16. Duplicate Bills: If you have misplaced your bill, contact a Customer Service Representative to have a duplicate bill mailed to you.

3.17. Third Party Notification: If you would like to have a copy of a bill or delinquency notice mailed to another person such as a tenant or relative, contact a Customer Service Representative. There is also a form on the Applications and Forms page that you must complete and submit to Customer Service.

4. Shutting Off Water

4.1. Reasons your water service may be shut off:
  • If you don’t pay charges for service within 30 days of billing.
  • If you don’t provide reasonable access to your meter for readings.
  • If you don’t pay for your willful or negligent damage to Authority facilities.
  • If you don’t make good a worthless check and pay the NSF fee within five (5) business days of notice by the Authority.
  • If you allow a potential safety or health hazard to customer or Authority property and/or personnel.
  • If you don’t pay within 30 days any fees or charges assessed for violation of any portion of the water and sewer ordinance.
4.2. How to Get Service Turned Back On: You will need to call a Customer Service Representative and make payment in full of all charges and fees in cash, certified check, or credit card. The Customer Service Representative will tell you in what time period a technician will be at your house to turn the water back on. You will need to have a responsible person at the house when the technician arrives (see Section 2.1) to turn the water back on.

4.3. Tampering with Meter: It is against the law for you to tamper with the meter to reconnect your water. If you do, you will be charged a tampering fee which will also need to be paid before your water is turned back on.

Meter Information


5.1. No Obstructions: You are responsible for making sure there is nothing interfering with the ability of the CFPUA technician to get your meter reading. This means trimming grass and bushes around the meter, not blocking by installing a fence in front or parking a car on top of the meter, and keeping dogs confined.

5.2. No Meter Tampering: It is illegal to tamper with a meter for any reason (see 4.3 above). You should not allow anyone to connect any device to your meter, nor should you tamper with any other meter.

Backflow Prevention


To prevent contamination of your and your neighbors’ water, you shouldn’t fill special use tanks or tankers containing pesticides, fertilizers, or other toxic chemicals from faucets on your property unless you have installed a backflow prevention device. You could be subject to a civil penalty. Contact Environmental Services at 910-332-6558 for more information.