Frequently Asked Questions

The Longview Water Utilities Department has completed our Utility Billing Cycle Realignment Project. This project changed our previously scattered three metering and billing cycle schedule into four cycle geographic areas. The purpose of this project was to become more efficient and better serve our customers. Through the realignment process, some customers received new account numbers as well as new due dates.

We conducted the cycle realignment conversion process in March – May 2016, during which time some customers had shorter or longer than normal billing periods. To properly prorate water, sewer and garbage from these irregular periods, your September 2016 bill may reflect a one-time only adjustment as a credit or charge.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What was the Utility Billing Cycle Realignment Project:

We conducted a cycle conversion process to align our billing cycles according to their geographic location in Longview. To complete that process, we are placing a one-time cycle adjustment on the bill to properly prorate the base rates for each customer. We changed from three cycles to four cycles. This change resulted in some customers receiving new billing and due dates. As a result, some customers experienced either shorter or longer billing periods during the conversion.

Why did we change cycles in the first place?

The cycle conversion was done to make our billing and metering process more efficient. Previously, the cycles were not geographically organized. As such, our metering process was scattered and inefficient. We made the change to improve our ability to serve customers.

Over the years the rapid and uneven growth of our city had resulted in a scattered distribution of customer accounts with their meter reading and billing cycle schedules. It became necessary to restructure this workload into a more manageable activity that better defines our monthly cycles by major thoroughfares, neighborhood boundaries and anticipated growth patterns within the city. This realignment of cycles will offer these customer advantages:

  • Greater efficiency will lead to greater manageability of utility resources;
  • Enhanced meter reading routes will lead to quicker service response time;
  • Quicker service response time will lead to a greater consistency in resolving billing issues

Why is there a one-time cycle adjustment credit or charge on my bill?

Each customer pays a monthly base rate for water, sewer, and garbage service. This base rate is for a month-long period. The base rate is NOT based on volume used by the customer, but is the minimum charged each month for access to service.

During the conversion, some customers had cycles that were shorter or longer than the normal monthly period. Our one-time cycle conversion adjustment properly prorates the base rate for those customers who experience shorter or longer period.

For instance, some customers had a 17-day period but still paid the full monthly base rate. Other customers had a 38-day billing period and also paid the regular base monthly rate.

Our base rates are calculated on a monthly basis; however, given the irregular periods it may be easier to understand this by thinking about an entire year-long period, or 365 days. Ideally, each customer should be billed the base rates in a year’s time for 12 months consisting of a total of 365 days. Ultimately, our goal with this one-time adjustment is to ensure that all customers are billed equally and fairly for 365 days of service. If we didn’t do this adjustment, some customers would be paying for the equivalent of 355 days of service while others paying the equivalent of 375 days.

How it will affect the customers?

The end-result of the adjustment is that each customer will be properly billed for their actual monthly base charges.

Ultimately, our goal with this one-time adjustment is to ensure that all customers are billed equally and fairly for their days of service. So, some customers will receive a credit and others an additional charge.

How much of a credit or charge will I see?

The amount of the credit or charge varies greatly depending on the size of your meter connection, your level of service and the length of billing period during the conversion. Some customers will not see any adjustment. Some high-usage or commercial customers will see larger adjustments.

Most residential customers could see a credit / charge adjustment ranging from $6 up to one month’s base rate. A detailed calculation of a customer’s adjustment is available upon request from the Water Utilities department.

Why didn’t we prorate from the beginning?

Our billing software was not set up to allow for such a large scale prorating of every account. As such, this prorating process required a very detailed entry to each account.

Also, the billing cycles and meter-reading periods are not uniform for all customers every month, so prorating in advance may not have been as accurate. So, we decided it was best to implement as the final phase of the conversion. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If there are questions, please don't hesitate to call Water Utilities at 903-237-1030.