At Valley Water we routinely answer numerous customer questions. Below are some of those asked most frequently.
Remember if you have any other questions about your service or your bill, please don't hesitate to call us at 860-747-8000
Why do you have to do periodic tests on my meter?
Valley Water Systems tests your meter periodically to ensure its accuracy; in fact, we are required by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to test all our small meters every 10 years. Large meters must be tested every 4 years or less.
You will receive a letter in the mail requesting that you call the office to schedule a meter change appointment. Our service representative will come to your property and change the meter on the mutually agreed upon date. The average time it takes to change a small meter is about 15-20 minutes. For large meters it could take up to 2 hours.
As meters get old, they tend to slow down and need a tune up to continue to measure water usage accurately. If you live in a community where meters are not tested regularly, the newer accurate meters might be measuring more water usage than a comparable property with an older meter. When the water utility in a non-tested area establishes new rates, their revenue sources could be unfairly skewed toward the owners of the accurately reading meters.
Why do you have to get into my house to change the meter?
Many customers think the meter is on the outside of their premise since that is where they see our service representative.
Actually, your meter must be located in a warm place for a very good reason: if it was outside it would freeze in the winter.
The box on the outside of the house is a remote reader. Our service representative inserts a device in the remote reader and obtains your current reading. If you have had a radio remote reader installed at your property he can determine your reading by a radio based device.
My water usage this billing period seems to be higher than normal. What's wrong?
The first, and most common, reason your water bill is higher than average is due to high consumption caused by a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Here are three things that you can do to check for leaks:
- Check the accuracy of the reading. Your last meter reading is on your bill. Go to the meter and make sure the number is higher than the reading on the bill. If the meter indicates a lower number, we may have mis-read the meter. If this is the case, give us a call and one of our representatives will come out and re-read the meter after which the office will issue a corrected bill as required.
- Check the leak detector on the meter. There is a small triangular dial that moves when water is passing through the meter. Make sure there is no water being used in or outside your property. This indicates a leak in your plumbing system---if the "leak detector" dial is turning, water is going through your meter---at this time call us for further advice or assistance.
- Check your toilet for leaks. The toilet uses more water than practically anything in the house and if it's leaking, you may not hear it. We advise people to do a simple test: put food dye in the tank of the toilet, wait 20-30 minutes, then go back and check the bowl to see if any of the dye is showing up there. If there is dye in the bowl---you've just found the leak!
How much does it cost me to water my lawn?
For most customers the bill covering the summer months is the highest of the year. The usage in this bill includes lawn watering, extra showers, pool filling and a variety of activities that add to your usage.
- Locate your water meter and make a note of the reading.
- Begin watering your lawn and with a timer, record how much water passes through the meter in one hour (if your meter read 56200 to start and 56320 to end, you measured 120 cubic feet of water).
- Multiply the number of cubic feet used by the cost of 1 cubic feet of water.
- Multiply that amount by the number of hours you watered the lawn.
Now you have an idea of approximately how much it costs you to water your lawn. This formula can help you calculate water usage for pool filling, car washing, even clothes washing and baths!
Why do I have no water?
There are a number of reasons why you may not have water.
We will notify any customer that they will not have water if a water main shutdown is scheduled. A white card will be left on your front door at least 24 hours ahead of time.
We may not have had time to notify you if there is emergency work being done on water mains in your area.
What is the Revenue Adjustment Mechanism Surcharge and how much is it?
Public Act No. 13-78 was signed by Governor Malloy on June 5, 2013 in which Section 3 established a Revenue Adjustment Mechanism for Connecticut water utilities. The mechanism guarantees that water utilities will recover their authorized rate case revenues, no more and no less. If a water utility has earnings in excess of the allowed return on equity, the excess must be shared equally between ratepayers and shareholders. Therefore, the surcharge will be applied to water sales and miscellaneous charges (collection fees, turn-on/off fees, returned check fees, etc.) as required by the legislation.
The surcharge, as approved by PURA is 5.83%. A typical residential customer who uses an average 6,000 gallons of water a month will pay an additional $1.20 per month.
How will the Surcharge be presented on my bill?
The surcharge will be shown as a separate line item titled “Revenue Adjustment Mechanism.” It will be presented in the form of a percentage increase to your normal bill amount.
How long will the Surcharge appear on my bill?
The 4.76% surcharge will be added to your bill for each of the next twelve months. In May 2019, the surcharge will be recalculated as they may change or be eliminated.
How does the Surcharge benefit me?
The surcharge will help VWS to continue to improve our system. VWS places the upmost importance on supplying safe, reliable drinking water now and in the future. By earning our allowed revenues we are able to replace ageing, inadequate, undersized mains thus improving fire protection and water quality, preventing costly main breaks and service interruptions; among other infrastructure improvements that benefit you, our customer. In today’s economic environment VWS realizes that a significant rate increase would be unfavorable to our customers. VWS’ last rate increase occurred in 2010, therefore VWS elected to implement the surcharge to delay a rate increase. The surcharge would minimize the increase should VWS apply to PURA for a general rate increase in the future.
Where can I find the new rates and charges?
You may find them on our Rates & Billing page, in our office, or call us and request a copy.