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(A) Adjustments may be made to customer water and/or sewer bills in the event of extenuating circumstances due to leaks or pipe breaks (collectively, “leaks”) as follows:
(1) When a customer receives a utility bill that reflects extraordinary charges for a billing period, he or she shall present his or her claim for an adjustment in person or in writing to the town no more than 30 days after receiving the bill.
(2) A claim for an adjustment shall not prevent discontinuance of services for delinquency in payment as heretofore provided. Customers are responsible to pay the entire amount due within the normal payment period or enter into payment arrangements for the billed amount in order to remain in good standing on all current billings. The customer’s payment of a bill reflecting extraordinary charges shall not prejudice his or her claim for an adjustment.
(3) Where the customer demonstrates to the reasonable satisfaction of the town that a leak on the customer’s side of the meter was the cause of the extraordinary charges, an adjustment may be made to the customer’s water bill in accordance with the provisions of this section. The customer must also present proof, such as a plumber’s invoice and receipt, that the leak was repaired.
(B) An adjustment may be made to the utility bill if no leak adjustment has been made within the previous 12 month period for the same account, and:
(1) There is a concealed leak in the customer’s piping, and the customer submits a statement from a licensed plumber, or a signed statement from the property owner or his/her legal representative, that the leak has been repaired and that the repair meets or exceeds the plumbing codes of the town; or
(2) There are other circumstances, such as theft of water, where the evidence indicates a leak or other loss of water that is not the fault of the owner such that an adjustment is appropriate under the circumstances and consistent with the purpose and spirit of this section.
(C) If an adjustment is granted, it shall be made for the following amounts:
(1) On the water portion of the utility bill, an adjustment of up to 75% of the portion of the bill that exceeds the customer’s average consumption;
(2) On the sewer portion of the utility bill, where the excess water from the break or leak did not enter the sanitary sewer system, an adjustment of up to the total amount of the bill that exceeds the customer's average sewer bill;
(3) On the sewer portion of the utility bill, where the excess water from the break or leak entered the sanitary sewer system, an adjustment of up to 75% of the portion of the bill that exceeds the customer's average consumption.
(4) “Average consumption” shall be calculated as the prior 12-month average monthly consumption at the premises, not including months that do not have readings, that have readings for less than a full month, or that have zero usage readings.
(5) No adjustment shall be made unless the gallons billed are at least 10,000 gallons more than the average billing (on a monthly basis).
(6) The adjustment may not cover more than two consecutive months.
(D) To be eligible for an adjustment under this policy, the leak must be a concealed leak. Leaks that are or should be known to the customer shall not be considered concealed leaks, and include but are not limited to the following: leaking or running toilets; treatment systems; air-conditioning cooling towers; leaking faucets, whether inside or outside; water heaters; exposed piping; washing machine hoses; hose bibs; water fountains; dishwashers; swimming pools; and exposed pressure reducing valves and backflow preventers.
(E) Vacant homes and buildings do not qualify for leak adjustments.
(F) No adjustment will be allowed where the break or leak occurred during a period when the premises was left vacant or unattended by the customer for a period in excess of two weeks and the customer failed to turn the water off at the meter. This provision shall not apply, though, to the sewer portion of the utility bill where the excess water did not enter the sanitary sewer system.
(G) Upon being notified by Water Department personnel or otherwise discovering that a leak exists the customer shall take immediate steps to correct the situation. Undue delay by the customer shall cause forfeiture of any benefits from this adjustment policy.
(H) The Public Works Director, or his or her designee, shall consider and have authority to grant a requested adjustment of up to $3,000. A request for any adjustment exceeding $3,000 shall be considered and decided by the Town Manager. The decision of the Public Works Director or Town Manager, as applicable, shall be final.
(I) The town may enter into appropriate payment plans with customers unable to pay extraordinarily high bills. Customers may inquire of the Public Utilities Department for alternative payment options.
(Ord. passed 9-15-2016)