10,678 Shreveport customers to receive water bill credit

Several months ago, Mayor Tom Arceneaux directed the City’s Department of Water and Sewerage (DOWAS) to review the accuracy of sewer bills received by residential customers. As a result, DOWAS has determined that some residential customers will receive a credit on their March bills.

How is the AWS amount calculated?

Residential sewer charges are calculated using what is called the Average Water Consumption (AWC) amount. Using the AWC attempts to favor customers by basing their monthly sewer charges on the months (November through February) where water consumption is usually lowest. The AWC is calculated by eliminating the highest and lowest water consumption for those four months and taking an average of the other two. That amount becomes the basis for sewer bills for the next twelve months, except when someone’s monthly water consumption is lower than the AWC, in which case the lower number is used.

The issue occurs when the City cannot obtain a meter reading for all four months. In that case, as specified in a 2019 ordinance, the AWC is initially set at 6,000 gallons per month for unread months.

Wintry storm effects on AWS amount

In the winter of 2022-23, bad weather caused a large number of customers’ bills to be estimated for at least one of those four months. Using the 6,000 gallon figure would have increased sewer charges for a large number of customers. To keep that from happening, DOWAS decided that it would be fairer to use data from the 2021-22 winter instead.

This decision had no effect on more than half of our customers and actually benefitted another 30%. However, it did increase bills for 10,678 residential customers (about 16%) before DOWAS went back to the 2022-23 formula last fall. Most of these increases total $50 or less.

Customers whose bills increased because of this decision will receive a credit on their March bills. Customers whose bills decreased because of the change will not be billed for the difference.

The Mayor has asked DOWAS to propose ordinance changes to keep this from occurring in the future. The shift to fully-automated meter reading, which will begin in the next year, will eliminate this issue entirely by eliminating the need for estimated meter reads.

“It’s imperative for us to uphold transparency and fairness in billing processes,” stated William Daniel, Director of Water and Sewerage. “We’re committed to rectifying discrepancies and ensuring equitable treatment for all residents.”

The Department of Water and Sewerage remains dedicated to serving its customers and fostering a community of accountability and fairness.

Picture of Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr. is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana and is the owner, founder, & designer of Savage Creative Solutions. Savage Creative Solutions is a full-service, integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shreveport, LA with a growing national footprint across multiple industries. Savage is a local marketing and communication professional, entrepreneur, and accomplished author. His debut memoir, "Diary of A Testicular Cancer Survivor," has been featured on Amazon's best-seller list.

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