West U has recently changed out all water meters to radio read meters. Those meters are automatically read every hour, 24 hours a day. Those readings are then uploaded into the system for billing.
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West U provides water, sewer and solid waste services to residents. We also provide recycling services for residents who are interested. We do not provide electricity, gas or cable.
Utility service may be set up from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall, 3800 University Blvd., or online via the City’s website. Service will not be started/terminated on the same day as the application, holidays or weekends. All documentation must be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before the requested connection/termination. Any documents received after 4:00 p.m. on a given day will be processed the next business day to start the following business day.
All West U residents will need to set up utility service. Our City does not "transfer" services from one owner to the next or from landlord to renter. Each party is responsible for connecting service and then terminating service when they leave the City or move to another residence within the City. You will be responsible for the account until you terminate it whether you still reside there or not.
The following documents are needed to start new service:
As a home owner, you do not pay a deposit but you do pay a $50 connection fee. The Utility Department requires a photo identification of the owner and spouse, adult roommate or adult partner. The driver’s license is used for identification purposes only. The department will discuss utility issues such as billing with only persons listed on that account, so it is imperative that we have all the vital information. We will also need the front page of your purchase contract or other proof of ownership to verify that you are the home owner of the location for which you want service. The connection fee will be charged on your first month’s billing. Documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
As a renter, you will pay a deposit of $200 in addition to a $50 connection fee. The Utility Department requires a photo identification of the renter and spouse, adult roommate or adult partner. The driver’s license is used for identification purposes only. The department will discuss utility issues such as billing with only persons listed on that account, so it is imperative that we have all the vital information. We will also need the front page of your lease agreement to verify that you are the renter of the location for which you want service. The $200 deposit is due BEFORE services are scheduled to start in your name. The connection fee will be charged on your first month’s billing. When you leave the City or change residences, the deposit will be applied to your final bill; you will then be billed for the remainder of your final bill or will receive a refund, whichever is appropriate. Documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
If you come into the office, please bring photo identification for all adults as listed above as well as the contract or lease agreement information as required. If you call the department, please be prepared to FAX (713.662.5804), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or bring those documents to City Hall. Service will not be scheduled until the department has received the documents; documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
Owners of new construction --- you will not be able to start a utility account until AFTER your certificate of occupancy is received in the Finance office. Moving into a home while still under the builder’s name may result in fines.
Utility service may be terminated from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall, 3800 University Blvd. Service will not be terminated on the same day as the application, on holidays or on weekends. Documentation received after 4:00 p.m. will be processed for the following business day. All residents of West University Place are required to terminate utility service when they move from one residence to another residence within the City or move from West University Place. Our City does not "transfer" services from one owner to the next or from renter back to landlord. The resident (renter or owner) is legally responsible for the account until it is properly terminated whether they still reside in West University Place or not. You are not released from legal liability until the termination process has been completed as follows. Contact the utility billing department at 713.662.5824 or come to the Customer Service window at City Hall to schedule a utility termination. If you call the office, you will be required to provide written verification of the termination information by FAX (713.662.5804) or e-mail to email@example.com.
The termination form includes, and requires, all of the following information:
•Name of the account
•Address for service termination
•Rent or own?
•Daytime contact number
•Date requested for termination (no same day, no holidays, no weekend)
•Signature of account holder
As a renter, you paid a deposit of $200 in addition to a $50 connection fee. When you leave the City or change residences, the deposit will be applied to your final bill; you will then be billed for any remainder or will receive a refund, whichever is appropriate. Without your termination information, we will be unable to provide refunds.
To setup automatic payments, you will need to create an account through our online payment system, Point & Pay. There is NO COST to the customer when using this feature. On the monthly due date, your credit card will be charged or your checking account will be drafted for the amount owed. The customer will still receive a statement and will be able to view their utility account online. The statement will reflect the words "AUTO DRAFT" on the bottom portion of the statement as a reminder they are setup for automatic payments. For more information, call Utility Billing at 713.662.5824.
NOTE: If you choose to use this option, it is the customers responsibility to make any credit card/checking account updates within your Point & Pay account. This includes updating your credit card or banking information.
To view your bill online or to pay by credit card, go to Point & Pay.
For more information on online bill access and payments go to Payment-Options
Any adjustments are made on the next month's billing cycle. If you do not pay your bill in full --- any bill --- you will be liable for late fees on any unpaid amount. It is better to pay your bill, however high, and see a lower bill the next month.
Many things can impact a water statement; during a period of drought, almost all residents will see some level of impact. Generally, the City has an annual rate increase because of the City of Houston raising its rates on purchased water. In most years, residents don’t really begin to use a great deal of water at their homes until late April or early May. With the lack of rain the last few years, many have started watering in mid-February and continue to increase consumption throughout our hottest summer in history. You are billed for the water that runs through your meter; if there is a leak in the street, that water does not go through your meter. Therefore, a leak in the street can only impact you through low water pressure or disruption of service while the leak is repaired. Because people and equipment are being utilized, errors can happen. That is why the City offers residents the opportunity to file for an adjustment once a year for an unusually large bill due to a defect or some unknown cause. Understand that when utility staff tells you to monitor your account for more than one bill, it is not to get more money from you, but to get to the real reason for the increase if it is not due to increased water usage. The adjustment is only allowed once per 12-month period; if you file for it after one high bill and you have a leak, then you lose the chance to recoup some of the loss for additional affected months.
Yes. The City website provides the opportunity for utility users to view their bills online (regardless of their payment method) through Point & Pay.
Meters are read the last working days of the month. The data is then uploaded into the system during the next three weeks. Billing is usually done between the 20th-25th of the month. The due date is figured at 20 days after the billing date, or the third Wednesday of the next month. Payments become delinquent on the 21st day after billing.
Our billing service mails all statements out at the same time. Once they go into the postal service, we have no control of the statement. We know that the postal service has changed procedures in West U; they are running longer routes with fewer carriers. The City has experienced some disruptions in our mail delivery just as residents have. However, we cannot be responsible for you not receiving your mail at your home. We can advise you that your bill will go in the mail approximately the 20th-25th of the month and will be due by the third Wednesday of the following month. If you have not received your bill by the first day of any given month, you should call the utility department. City Council passed Ordinance 1969 on February 25, 2013, which allows the late fee to be waived by approval of the City Manager and Finance Director under certain conditions. Any approved waiver will be applied to the following month’s utility statement.
To request the waiving of a late fee, the user must:
•Make written request within 30 days of the delinquent notice to firstname.lastname@example.org;
•Have not received a waiver for late fees within the preceding 24-month period.
City Council passed Ordinance 1969 on February 25, 2013, which allows the late fee to be waived by approval of the City Manager and Finance Director under certain conditions. Any approved waiver will be applied to the following month’s utility statement.
•Make written request within 30 days of the delinquent notice to email@example.com;
Checks are posted on the day they are received, whether that is over-the-counter, in the drop box or through the mail. We do not look at the date on the check; we look at the date received and posted to your account.
•All accounts should be paid in full by the due date each month to ensure no late fees.
•Any balance not paid in full will accrue late charges.
•Waiting for account adjustments before paying your current bill; adjustments are made to the next month’s bill.
•Not signing a check; we then have to contact you for a replacement. If your account information is not up-to-date, then the check will be returned by mail, adding additional time to the payment process.
•Improper check writing: be sure your numerical amount and written amount are the same. We will contact you for a replacement if they do not. All checks MUST include the written part of the check as that is the legal description of the check and our bank will not accept any check not bearing that.
West U does not shut off water without ample notice to the home in question. By the time you get your monthly statement, you are paying for water consumed two and one-half months before. We bill a month in arrears for utilities .
EXAMPLE: You move into your home in West U on June 1. On June 30 your meter is read and the data is uploaded. Following calculations, the bill is sent to the billing service which bills you on July 24. By the time your bill is due on August 13, you are paying for services that began approximately two and one-half months before. How many other companies allow you to do that? Your rent/mortgage is due when you move in; your grocery bill is due when you get to the register; your restaurant bill is due at the end of the meal; and the Astros require you to pay for tickets before you watch them play. If you find that you can not pay your current utility bill, contact Utility Billing to discuss the situation. Payment plans are available if needed, with conditions.
Residents who need to set up payment plans may do so by contacting the Accounting Specialist - Utility Billing at 713.662.5824. You must be prepared to pay your current month’s bill plus an additional amount toward the delinquent portion each month. Failure to pay your agreed payment plan amount will result in the cancellation of the plan and your water service will be terminated. Full payment will then be required to have your water service reconnected. Payment plan holders do not receive late fees on the delinquent amount nor do they get termination notices UNLESS they do not pay the required amount. EXAMPLE: In October W.U. Resident got a $700 utility bill which he cannot pay in total. He contacts the office and agrees to pay $50 each month toward his delinquent bill. His November bill is $400; W.U. Resident will have to pay $450 by the due date or face termination of his services.
West U does not offer electronic transfers for utility payments. If you use your bank bill-paying program, the bank then cuts a paper check and mails it to us. Depending on the lead time you allow for payment, that could result in late charges for your account even though it shows the money was taken days earlier. We post payments to your account and deposit payments the day they are received. It is not the date that it is removed from your account that determines your late fees; it is the date we receive your payment.
•Name of all adult parties on the account (spouse, partner or roommate) who might possibly need to contact us about issues with the account. Copies of drivers’ licenses are also needed;
•Current mailing address if different than service address;
•Telephone numbers: home, work and cell; and
By the time you receive a statement on your account, you are paying for services used approximately 6 weeks before. After the due date has passed, a reminder notice is sent to delinquent accounts, notifying them that they missed the deadline. If that is not paid, a second notice warning of disconnection is sent. If this is disregarded, the services will be terminated and the account will be assessed a $50 disconnection fee. To prevent termination of services, a resident MUST bring the account current or set up a payment plan to have the service turned back on. If a resident uses a credit card to bring their account current before termination, the Finance Office MUST be contacted as soon as the payment is made to allow staff time to verify payment and stop the termination process; payments made at the window will be automatically credited at the time of payment, stopping the termination process. It is the resident’s responsibility to inform the Utility Department that payment has been made if not at the customer service window. Service is normally restored during business hours; it can be restored after hours, weekends or holidays at an additional cost so it is very important that you respond promptly to the reminder letters. If your service is disconnected, we will still take payments in the form of cash, check, money order or credit card. However, the payment SHOULD be done in the office in person to ensure a quick reconnection. We will not reconnect until we receive the payment. If you put a check in the mail, it generally takes 3 days to arrive; if a weekend or holiday is involved, the time may be longer. It is in your best interest to bring the payment to the counter and pay in person. If you place it in the utility drop box during the day, it will not be processed until the next morning as the box run is between 7-7:15 am each day. If you choose to pay by credit card, you MUST contact our office and let us know that a payment has been made so that we can verify if and apply it to your account. Again, it is to your benefit to come into the office and pay by credit card with staff. If you have problems remembering to pay because of busy schedules, you might want to consider a free automatic draft on your checking account, done in-house on the monthly due date, or recurring credit card payments, done online through Citizen Access. If interested in either of the options, let us know. We don’t want to turn anyone’s service off; please help ensure that does not happen by paying your bill on or before the due date.
You will receive a reduction in the solid waste pickup fee which is the only set fee for utility services provided by West U. Effective January 1, 2020, the solid waste collection fees for residents are as follows:
• Residents under 65: $35.69/month (Base fee $32.97 / Tax $2.72)
• Residents over 65: $18.13/month (Base fee $16.75 / Tax $1.38)
To receive the "0ver 65" reduction, provide utility billing with a copy of your driver’s license in person at the Customer Service window at City Hall during office hours or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff will copy the license, attach it your account and the reduced rate goes into effect the next billing statement.
Maybe.... that is the best answer we can give you without checking your account. In 2011, the Finance Department changed software. Some of your contact information easily populated in the new system while some was lost in the transition. We want the following information on all our customers at a minimum:
• Account holder information; if you are not listed on the account, we can’t talk to you about the account. onames of all adults listed on contract or lease omailing address if different than physical address ocurrent telephone information including home, work and cell ocurrent email address
•Driver’s license information on all account holders; this is used to verify identity. If driver’s license is unavailable, a copy of a current passport will suffice.
•Copy of the first page of your sales contract or HCAD documentation of ownership; copy of the first page of a lease if a renter.
•Optional: o legal information for executors including driver’s license odivorce decrees to remove a once married spouse from the account odeath certificate to remove a deceased spouse from the account oauthorization from the account holder for staff to act in behalf
The following is the City ordinance under which the utility department operates. The discussion that follows is based on ordinance sections 86-34 and 86-35 as shown below. Please take a moment to read the ordinance so that the information that follows becomes more clear. ============================================================== Sec. 86-34. - Billing, payment, nonpayment. (amended February 25, 2013) (a) Frequency; when delinquent. All users of utilities, solid waste collection, street lighting and other services furnished by the city will be billed monthly for services rendered. All bills will be due and payable on presentation and will become delinquent on the 21st day following the date mailed. (b) Late charge/waiver of late charge. If a bill becomes delinquent, there is a one-time additional charge of ten percent of the lesser of the amount due or the amount last billed. With the city manager’s and finance director’s approval the late charge may be waived under the following circumstances: a. The user has submitted a written request for a waiver of the late charge within 30 days of the delinquent notice; and b. The user has not received a waiver for a late charge within the preceding 24-month period. (c) Returned checks. If a check or other instrument is returned, an additional charge may be assessed. The amount of this charge will be determined by the city council. A returned check or other instrument will be treated as if there had been no payment received and retroactive late charges may be assessed.(d) Partial payment. If a partial payment is made, the amount will be allocated to amounts due the city in the following order: (1) First, to any additional fees and charges, such as late charges and returned check charges, then due. (2) Then to the oldest regular charges, applied in this order: a. Current solid waste charges. b. Current street lighting fees. c. Any other charges. d. Current sewer charges. e. Current water charges. (e) Payment agreements. The finance director may agree to allow a delinquent account to be paid over a period of time. The user must agree in writing to a payment schedule. The agreement will not prevent discontinuation of service if the user fails to timely pay both the amount due under the terms of the agreement and current charges during the term of the agreement. (f) Discontinuation of service. If a bill becomes delinquent, the city may give notice that water and sewer services are proposed to be discontinued. The notice will give an opportunity for a hearing with the city manager (or the city manager’s designee) before discontinuation. If the delinquency is not resolved after the opportunity for a hearing, the city may discontinue water and sewer services without further notice. (g) Write off of bad debts. If, after all collection efforts have been exhausted, the finance director believes that it is unlikely that the city will be able to collect a delinquent account, the account’s status may be changed from active to inactive. With the city manager’s approval, the finance director may suspend active collection efforts for an account balance that has been inactive for at least two years. Sec. 86-35. - Resumption of service. Utility service will not be restored to a user whose service has been discontinued because of delinquency until the following conditions are met: (1) All delinquent amounts are paid; (2) Any service charges established by the city council are paid; (3) A deposit in the amount established by the city council is paid. The finance director, with the approval of the city manager may waive this requirement. Deposits will be returned, or credited to the account of the user, after the account has not been delinquent for 12 complete months from the day the deposit is made. ===================================================
1. A late charge of 10% of the bill will be added on the 21st day after the bill is sent; this is the day AFTER it is due. That is set by ordinance and cannot be removed by staff unless it is the result of an error by the staff. An example of a staff error might be sending the statement to the wrong mailing address. A resident being on vacation or not receiving a statement in the mail is NOT staff error. There is no "grace period" with the ordinance. Payments received in the office or the drop box by 7:30 am (start of business) the 21st day are considered on time; mail received on the 21st day is not considered on time. If you pay by your bank's billpay system, make sure you allow 5-7 days for postal delivery as late fees will not be removed. We offer automated draft on checking and credit cards accounts to help facilitate meeting due dates.
EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 25, 2013: If your late fee is not the result of staff error, but you wish to pursue its removal, you may request a waiver. The city manager and finance director may approve the removal of a late fee if the user:
Any approved waivers will be reflected on the next billing statement.
2. In accordance with Section 86:34, if payment has not been received by the end of business hours on the 21st day (5:30 pm), the City may give notice of possible disconnection of services. The city utility service is billed a month in arrears. Readings of all meters are done at the end of each month; billing statements are created and mailed between the 25th-30th of the following month and due on the 3red Wednesday of the next month. (For example, June usage is read on the 29th and 30th, billed on July 25th and due on August 14th.) If you have not received your statement by the first day of the month, please contact the Finance office for the balance or another copy. Not receiving a bill does not remove the responsibility of payment from the resident.