Billing Questions

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1. What charges on my bill mean?

  • Flat Service Charge or Meter Service Charge - These charges pay the District’s fixed operations and maintenance costs, such as water main repairs, consulting services and wages. The charge is based on the size of the meter/connection.
  • Usage Charge - The usage charge portion of your bill is used for variable operations and maintenance costs, such as purchasing surface water, chemicals for water treatment and electricity for pumping groundwater.
  • Flat rate customers: This portion of your bill is calculated based on the square footage of your parcel, as recorded by the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office.
  • Meter rate customers: This portion of your bill is based on the amount of water that is registered passing through your water meter.
  • Capital Facilities Charge - The monies collected fund pay-as-you-go financing of ongoing capital improvement projects and for principal and interest payments on funds borrowed for past capital improvement projects such as reservoirs, meter retrofits, well construction and rehabilitation, and water main replacements. The charge is based on the size of the meter/connection.

Other charges that may appear on some bills:

  • Multiple Unit Charge - A monthly charge on all flat rate multi-family accounts (e.g. duplex, triplex) is billed per additional dwelling unit.
  • Private Fire Service Charge - A monthly charge for water service at un-metered connections to SSWD’s water system which supplies water to privately owned and maintained sprinklers used exclusively for fire fighting. This charge is based on the connection size of the fire service assembly.
  • Backflow Charge - This charge is to administer and monitor SSWD’s backflow program. Backflow devices prevent potential contaminants from entering the water system. Monies collected are used to notify customers of testing and retesting, compiling results and submittal of results to Department of Public Health.

2. Why is my neighbor’s water bill lower than mine?

  • One reason could be the size difference of the meter/connection: 
  • If you are on a metered rate, using less water results in a lower bill.
  • Flat rate bills are based on the parcel size, so a smaller parcel would have a smaller charge.

3. Why are the water rate charges so high?

Monies collected from the water rate charges are used to pay for expenses directly related to providing water to your home or business. For example, electricity used to pump water from the underground aquifer is a major expense for SSWD. Electricity costs are approximately $1.2 million per year. Water rate charges also include the cost of purchasing surface water.

4. Why doesn’t SSWD have a low-income program?

Unlike AT&T and PG&E, who are private utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, we are a  publicly owned water utility (a form of local government call a “special district”) regulated by the State of California Department of Public Health and State Water Code laws. We are also regulated by Proposition 218 passed by California voters in 1996. The rates and charges are approved by your elected Board of Directors in compliance with state law. In particular, Proposition 218 prohibits us from collecting from any customer more than the amount required to provide water service. By providing a reduced rate other ratepayers  would subsidize the low “reduced rate” ratepayers.  Those paying the subsidy, would be paying in excess of the cost of service to their parcel in violation of Prop 218.

5. How can I find out more about the District?

  • By contacting SSWD.
  • At SSWD’s Administrative Office located at 3701 Marconi Avenue, Suite 100, Sacramento, California.
  • By calling our Customer Service Team during business hours which are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 916.972.7171.
  • At the monthly Board meetings typically held the third Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are held at the Administrative Office


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