by: Roger Warehime; Director, Field Operations
Our first year offering our Water Service Line Protection Program is soon coming to an end and it has been a huge success! This program, which we launched in January, provides residential property owners the option for affordable protection against the significant cost of repair or replacement of leaking or frozen water service lines.
To date, the program has been responsible for the repair of 18 leaking meter valves (inside the home) and 8 leaking service lines or curb-stop valves (outdoor repairs which require excavation). The average cost to repair a leaking meter valve has been $275 and the average cost for outside repairs has been $3,100.
To make it easy for customers to sign up for our program and to maximize enrollment, we auto-enrolled eligible customers at the beginning of the year and allowed customers that did not want to participate to opt-out. We realized that the downside to an opt-out program is that some customers don’t look at their bills closely each month or read our newsletter. (Obviously, you are not one of those people since you are reading this!) We didn’t want those customers to feel “duped” when they discovered several months later that they were paying for a program that they did not actively sign up for. For that reason, we waived all fees for the entire 2015 calendar year. This gave everyone time to learn about the program and opt-out if they did not see the value and preferred to take the risk. Even customers that opted-out during the year will still be covered at no cost through the end of the year.
We had 14 customers opt-out so far which is less than 0.25% of the customers enrolled in the program. After the first of the year, customers that remain in the program will be paying just $1.99 per month for the benefit of not having to worry about an unexpected, leaking service line. If you stay enrolled in the program and you experience a water service line leak, you just call OPU and we will pay a qualified contractor to make the repairs. In addition to covering the necessary excavation and repair, the program will also cover the landscaping restoration up to the property line including repairing the street, public sidewalk, curb, boulevard, and driveway approach in the public right of way. The program will also cover the cost of thawing a frozen service line one time per calendar year.
To make sure that you are not missing out on this valuable protection, please take a moment to look at the detail on the back of your bill. Within the water section, you should see a $1.99 charge for “Water Service Line Protection Plan” and a corresponding $1.99 credit which is offsetting the charge. If you see the charge and credit and want to be in the program, you are all set and need do nothing further; beginning in January, the $1.99 credit will disappear. If you do not see the charge and credit on your bill but would like to participate, please contact one of our customer service representatives at 451-2480 or via email at email@example.com to confirm your eligibility and enroll in the program. You may also contact one of our customer service reps or visit our website to get an opt-out form if you do not want to remain in the program.
Lastly, a few words for Landlords: If you own rental property for which the water utility service is in your tenant’s name, you are not automatically enrolled in the program. You must sign up! We have sent letters with an application form to all landlords we have on record in our billing system. If you do not recall receiving the letter and want to participate in the program, please contact one of our customer service representatives for assistance.