Virginia Beach considers switching to monthly billing for water

Posted at 11:30 AM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 17:44:29-05

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - The City of Virginia Beach is considering the idea of switching the way residents are charged for water from bi-monthly to monthly.

Currently Public Utilities and Public Works provide water, wastewater collection, solid waste collected and stormwater management service to citizens and charge for all four with a single City Services Bill.

As it currently stands, Virginia Beach Public Utilities reads water meters and bills for service bi-monthly. Now, the city wants to switch to monthly billing because the two-month residential bill is about $200.

According to a policy report prepared for the Virginia Beach City Council, a benefit of the switch to monthly-billing is "cash flow and budgeting  - and lower accrued delinquent balances if the bill process results in shorter billing and enforcement periods."

There's also another benefit to the switch to monthly billing, in the form of monthly meter reading which can help detect water leaks sooner.

"Reading meters every 30 days helps us and them to detect leaks and know about them sooner and reduce the impact on their bill," interim Public Utilities Director Bob Montague told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Monday.

Public Utilities is also considering switching to Automated meter readings or Advanced Metering Infrastructure. Those technologies are used to read water meters wirelessly rather than  manual readings.

Automated meter reading meters upload data to a receiver or to a drive-by vehicle on a monthly basis, whereas the Advanced Metering Infrastructure would "report data to a server on a nearly real-time basis."

Public Utilities believes the conversion from manual meter reading to one of the wireless systems would be a five-year, $25 million project.

Read the policy report from Public Utilities here.