Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're a new utility customer, or have been a customer for many years, we would like to provide you with answers to the questions customers most frequently ask about their accounts. You may also want to refer to information available from the Solid Waste,Wastewater and Water departments.



How often will I be billed?

Bills are sent out monthly. Once your account is established you will receive your bill at approximately the same time each month. In October 2012, Tampa completed the transition to monthly meter reading for all customers. Please advise the City of Tampa Utilities Call Center promptly, at phone number (813) 274-8811, option #3, or via the City's online Customer Service Center, if you fail to receive your bill.

What if I do not receive my bill when expected?

Your City of Tampa utility bill is mailed monthly as long as your account remains in an active status. Utility account holders are responsible for payment regardless of whether or not the bill is delivered to you by the U.S. Postal Service.

If you do not receive a bill around your normal billing date, please call the Utilities Call Center at (813) 274-8811, option #3,  to determine your account status and confirm your mailing address on file. You may also view and pay your most recent bill online or get your account balance by calling the Automated Payment System at (813) 274-8811, option #1.

What should I do if I cannot pay my utility bill?

Your monthly utility bill is due when rendered and delinquent after 30 days. If you fall behind in payment you will receive a warning message on your bill advising you that service will be discontinued if not paid by a certain date. Please do not ignore this warning as the City turns off service to customers with delinquent bills.

Like any other bill you receive, if you are going to have trouble making payment, contact our Credit and Collections Section at (813) 274-8811, option #2, to see what arrangements can be made to avoid discontinuance of service. The Credit and Collections Section is located on the ground floor of 2105 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, and can also be reached by Fax at (813) 274-7886.

What can I do if my service is turned off or discontinued for non-payment?

Discontinuation of water, wastewater and solid waste services for non-payment is initiated through the Credit and Collections Section. To reinstate service, please refer to the tag left at your property or contact the Credit and Collections Section at (813) 274-8811, option #2, regarding the payment amount required on your account. Payments for delinquent and discontinued accounts can be made online, by phone or in person on the ground floor of 2105 N. Nebraska Ave.

If you make a payment on a discontinued account online or by phone, please contact the Credit and Collections Section at (813) 274-8811, option #2, Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to confirm your payment. You will need to provide the Customer Service Representative the date of payment, the payment confirmation number and the amount paid. Once the payment is confirmed service will be restored within 24 hours. Payments made on weekends and holidays can be confirmed on the next business day.
 

Please note that City Ordinance prohibits tampering with the water meter or anyone other than authorized City of Tampa employees from turning on or off service at the curb stop.

What is the basis for my water and wastewater (sewer) charges?

Water and wastewater (sewer) rates are based on the units of water as registered by your water meter. One unit of usage (100 cubic feet, or 1 CCF) is equal to 748 gallons. Our engineers tell us that the average resident of Tampa uses about 3 CCF of water per month. This means that a family of four could expect to use about 12 CCF (or about 9,000 gallons) a month. Tampa has a tiered water rate; so the more you use, the more you pay per unit.

You can monitor your usage by referring to the meter reading and the number of units of usage shown on your bill. Take your own independent reading of your water meter (disregard the last two fractional digits of the reading), and compare it to the reading on your bill to confirm that it's correct. If your current meter reading is LOWER than your bill, contactthe Utilities Call Center at (813) 274-8811, option #3, torequest a re-read of your meter.

Single family residential customers without an irrigation well, reclaimed water or a lawn meter may be eligible for a lawn credit/sewer max on their account to cap their wastewater charges. More information on the program is available on the Wastewater Website.

How are the water charges calculated?

The City of Tampa meters water use by cubic feet. One hundred (100) cubic feet of water is the same as 748 gallons and is billed as one unit. Tampa has a tiered water rate; so the more you use, the higher the per unit cost.

Here is an example for a residential customer billed at the outside city rate:

October 2012 -  15 hundred cubic feet (ccf) of water

Tier 0

5 ccf x $2.61

= $13.05

Tier 1

8 ccf x $3.03

= $24.24

Tier 2

2 ccf x $5.08

= $10.16

 

Total water portion

= $47.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Tampa Bay Water Pass-Through Charge and why doesn't it appear on my bill every month?

The Tampa Bay Water Pass-Through Charge was established in order for the city to recover the additional costs associated with water purchases from Tampa Bay Water.  Tampa Bay Water is a regional water utility that sells water to local water providers. The City of Tampa purchases water from Tampa Bay Water during times when demand is high and our own resources can no longer meet customer demand. This surcharge was put into place to recover the difference between what we pay Tampa Bay Water and what it normally costs us to produce water at our own facilities.

The surcharge is passed on to our customers only during times when the City of Tampa has to buy water from Tampa Bay Water. A per unit cost is calculated from the total cost for all of the purchases from Tampa Bay Water during the previous 3 month period. The amount each customer pays is calculated by multiplying individual usage times the calculated per unit cost. The surcharge appears as a separate line item on the utility bill and, like the tier rates for water, the surcharge line item is subject to tax.

For more information on the surcharge contact a Utilities Call Center Customer Service Representative at (813) 274-8811, option #3.

Why is my bill so high?

There are many possible reasons. Household guests or additional residents increase water consumption. Filling a swimming pool takes a tremendous amount of water. A hose left running on the lawn can waste hundreds of gallons. So may a constantly running toilet. Just a leaking faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per month! Saving water can help lower your utility bill.

Over the years we have found that the most frequent cause of a high bill is a leak, and that the most frequent type of leak can be traced to the toilet. In many cases a large quantity of water can be leaking through a toilet so quietly that a homeowner or occupant does not even hear it.

You may be able to save a costly plumbing bill by using some sort of food coloring or bluing. Add the coloring to the water in the toilet tank (top part) and then observe the water in the bowl (bottom part) for several minutes. Any coloration of the bowl water means you have a leak and the fixture should be repaired promptly.

If your water bill increases dramatically and your household patterns haven't changed, you may have a leak.  If you suspect a leak, we suggest that you turn off all faucets and taps and locate your water meter. Your meter has a small triangular indicator on its face which, if rotating, means that you likely have a plumbing leak.

For this, or any other question about your bill, please call the Utilities Call Center at (813) 274-8811, option #3.

 

I repaired a water leak that resulted in a high utility bill. Can I get an adjustment on my bill?

 

Depending on the type of leak, you may be eligible for an adjustment to the tiered water rate you paid and/or wastewater charges on your bill following a water leak repair on your private property. When determining a water charge adjustment, the account average annual water consumption is computed and the water use above the average is recalculated at the lowest tier rate. It may take several months to process an adjustment request. Additionally, if your utility account does not have at least a one year of water consumption history it may not be possible to review your account for an adjustment until a usage history is established.
 

Contact the Utilities Call Center at (813) 274-8811, option #3 or download a Water/Wastewater Leak Adjustment Request Form for more information. If you are unable to pay a high bill due to a leak, you should contact Credit and Collections at (813) 274-8811, option #2, as soon as possible after receiving your bill to make temporary payment arrangements in order to avoid interruption of your service.

 

Can I get an allowance on my bill for filling my swimming pool?

Sorry, no. We sometimes are asked to give allowances for people who refill swimming pools after pool maintenance, but our policy is to charge for the amount of water used. We think that's fair to all our customers.

Please note that we don't charge for the water itself; we charge for the cost of purifying the water and delivering it to you.

However, because your wastewater charges are calculated based upon your metered water use, you may be eligible for an partial allowance for the wastewater charges associated with a pool filling. Contact the Utilities Call Center at (813) 274-8811, option #3 for more information.

When emptying your pool, remember that local ordinances deem it illegal to dispose of any pollutants (including chlorinated pool discharge) to the storm sewer. Please contact the Stormwater Division at (813) 274-3101 for proper disposal procedures.

Can I get an adjustment on the water tiers when I install new sod or landscape material?

Sorry, no. We sometimes are asked to give adjustments for people who irrigate to establish new sod or other plant materials, but our policy is to charge for the amount of water used regardless of the purpose. We think that's fair to all our customers.

Please note that we don't charge for the water itself; we charge for the cost of purifying the water and delivering it to you.

What rules or laws govern the operations of the City's utilities?

City of Tampa utility departments are governed strictly by City Ordinances, which are passed by City Council and approved by the Mayor of the City of Tampa. These ordinances or laws state specifically the rates to be charged for all utility services. They also set forth the various service charges that you may be billed for service turn on, meter test fee, and miscellaneous collection fees.

 

My water meter box is always full of dirt or debris. Does this mean my meter isn't being read?

It is very common for meter boxes to become filled with dirt, leaves and other yard debris. There are many factors contributing to this. Meter boxes are generally slightly lower than ground level and are also typically at lower spots in your yard, so all run-off makes it into the meter box. It is our procedure to clean out the meter boxes so that the meter register is free from dirt and debris and easily read. However, it is common to clean out a meter box one month only to find the meter covered the following month. All it takes is a good rain or watering of the lawn for dirt to resettle over your meter from run-off. Dirt over the meter does not mean your meter is not being read. Usually when we have reports of meter boxes being full of dirt and debris, the debris is easily cleared away and a meter reading can be taken. Dirt that is cleared away to read the meter can recover the meter even from insect or rodent activity or the result of slamming down the meter box lid.

To assist the reader, please keep the meter box free of garbage cans, boxes, piles of yard waste, or parked vehicles, as it is against Tampa City Code to cause a meter to be inaccessible. Please do not install fences or plant trees or shrubs which restrict access to your meter or they may need to be removed.

What should I do when I'm ready to move?

As soon as you know when you want to discontinue service, call (813) 274-8811, option #3, and let us know so that we may arrange to take the account out of your name. Never depend on the next occupant to sign up for service and relieve you of your liability. If you wish, you may fill out the Stop Service E-mail Form, or Fax us your request at (813) 274-8430.

Does the City of Tampa offer paperless or electronic billing?

The City's current utility billing system does not support paperless or electronic billing options. The current system also does not allow us to suppress or "opt out" paper bills for active accounts. The City expects to update the utility billing system in the next several years and these options are planned to be incorporated. When these services become available we will let our customers know.


We hope these questions and answers will help you understand our utility billing system. If you have further questions regarding your account, one of our Consumer Services Representatives will be happy to help you. Just call (813) 274-8811 or contact us through the City's online Customer Service Center.