Press Releases

SWBNO Announces Personalized Billing Estimations

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 18 2019

Estimated water bills will more closely reflect each customer’s daily routine

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) announced it is implementing a more personalized method to estimate customers’ water use. This improvement will produce more accurate bills for customers in those rare instances when a meter can’t be read. Previously, when an estimate was required, we charged 100 gallons a day per property. Starting on Sept. 23, 2019, we will no longer use a blanket formula to estimate your bills. Estimates instead will be tailored to your individual account, based on your typical daily water use. This change reflects our renewed focus to improve the service we provide each customer.

While we make every effort to read every single meter, certain situations can cause your usage to be estimated. This includes such circumstances as unsafe weather conditions or an obstruction, such as a parked car, blocking the water meter cover. When an estimate must be made, we will:

  • Take your four previous readings, two of which are required to be actual readings (not estimates) and,
  • Calculate how many gallons of water you use each day on average, then
  • Multiply that by the number of days in the present billing period.

This improved, customer-focused process will ensure that any billing estimations are closer to your actual monthly water usage. This will make it easier for you to budget for your water bill each month. It will also reduce the chance you will face a startlingly high actual bill meant to correct an earlier, artificially low estimated bill.

If, for any reason, you have fewer than two actual reads, we will estimate that each residential account uses 170 gallons a day. This number is based on the typical consumption of SWBNO customers.

“We are constantly working to improve the service we provide our customers and are now taking a more personalized approach to billing,” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, SWBNO. “Within the past year, we recognized that using the 100-gallon-a-day water usage standard does not work best for our customers.  This new approach will help give customers more predictability when budgeting month to month.”

Over the past year, we have made a number of improvements to our billing system with the goal of improving its accuracy and predictability for our customers.

Several major improvements toward that end include:

  • Since August 2018, we have resolved 23,000 billing disputes.
  • Our billing staff is better trained in the bill review process which helps flag inaccurate readings.
  • We improved our meter reading process by reordering the sequence in which meters are read. This allows a meter reader to read the same sequence of routes and become more familiar with the location of each water meter.
    •  This increases the speed and accuracy of the meter reading process.
  • We standardized how we read each of our different makes and models of meters.
    • Now meter readers have greater predictability and uniformity on their routes which decreases errors when entering a customers’ meter data into our billing system. 

To help reduce the number of billing estimates, we ask that you remain mindful of where you or your guests park outside of your home. If for some reason our meter readers can’t access your meter, they will leave a door tag letting you know.

If you have any questions, please call 52-WATER. Our customer service agents are ready to assist you.



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