Customer Service Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I contact the Department of Public Utilities?
- How can I pay my bill?
- How do I report a water main break or other water emergency?
- I just purchased a home. How do I set up an account?
- Can tenants put DPU bills in their names?
- Are security deposits required to establish utility services?
- What charges are included on my utility statement?
- How often will I receive a bill for utility services?
- What is the Voluntary Monthly Budget Program?
- Has my water/utility bill been mailed yet? When is it due?
- Why am I receiving an estimated water/utility bill?
- When is my next meter reading date?
- What should I do if I can’t pay my bill on time?
- What rules apply to the equipment at my premises?
- What part of the water service line am I responsible for? What is the City’s responsibility?
- How do I close an account?
- There are no refuse or recycling containers at the property I just purchased. Whom should I call?
- How can I protect myself from criminals posing as utility workers?
- What is the Homestead Exemption discount rate and who qualifies to receive it?
- I’m not happy with the answer I received when I called Customer Service about a problem with my bill. Is there an appeals process?
- What governs how the Department of Public Utilities operates? Can I get a copy of the rules?
- The City of Toledo Foreman told me the sanitary sewer lines are flowing properly but I have basement flooding--- What should I do?
- How do I clean up a flooded basement?
Customers can reach DPU Customer Service in several ways:
- Call 419-245-1800 from 7 am to 6 pm during regular business days;
- Visit the Walk-In Center at 420 Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo from 8 am to 4:30 pm on regular business days (no appointment needed);
- Email DPU at firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- Write DPU c/o 420 Madison Avenue, Toledo, Ohio 43604.
DPU offers its customers several bill-paying options:
- By check or money order through U.S. Mail. Payment must be received by due date to avoid late payment charges.
- In person with check, money order or cash at the Walk-In Center at 420 Madison Avenue from 8 am to 4:30 pm during regular business days;
- Automatic payment arrangements can be made with the customer’s bank or credit union at no additional charge; and
- Credit card payments can be made online here (https://ipn.paymentus.com/otp/stde/cotl) or by calling Paymentus at 866-417-0726. (There is a charge for this service.)
Please call Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020 immediately to report a water main break, providing the closest street address and intersection. This number is monitored 24 hours a day, year-round. DPU investigates all reported leaks and breaks as soon as possible.
To establish service, property owners need to: 1. Complete an application for service; 2. Provide photo identification; and 3. Make an appointment to provide access to their property for DPU to read the inside meter. Customers may apply in person or by phone:
- In Person: Property owners can complete applications in person at the Customer Service Walk-In Center at 420 Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo, open from 8 am to 4:30 pm on normal business days without an appointment. Ownership of the property will be verified through the Lucas County Auditor’s Office, and the application completed and signed. A photocopy will be made of the owner’s photo I.D. and an appointment set to read the inside meter on the next available business day or as soon as possible.
- By Phone: Owners may also call a Customer Service Representative who will take and complete the application by phone. (In some cases additional information may be need to be provided in person or by mail.) Customer Service Representatives are available at 419-245-1800 from 7 am to 6 pm during normal business days. (Calls received in the queue by 6 pm will be taken that day.)
DPU contracts for services only with property owners verified by the Lucas County Auditor’s Office. DPU does not enter into service contracts with tenants.
Deposits are no longer being charged for the majority of DPU’s customers. However, deposits will be required of customers with poor bill payment histories, outstanding delinquencies, or for accounts that have been turned off for non-payment or for violations such as stealing water. (Note: Any deposits will be credited to accounts after customers have made on-time full bill payments for one year.)
DPU statement charges will vary depending on geographic service location:
- City of Toledo: DPU provides water, sanitary sewer, storm water and drainage services for its customers within the City of Toledo and bills for these services plus for refuse collection performed by its sub-contractor, Republic Services.
- The majority of customers outside of the City of Toledo corporation limits pay only for water treatment and some distribution services DPU provides. DPU provides billing services based on fixed rates and sewer volume for Lucas County that covers the costs for sewer and drainage services and utility administration. Toledo Sewer charges are comprised of a fixed rate based on meter size plus avolume charge, which is variable, based on water usage. The utility bill states which entity provides services. DPU collects these funds and returns the appropriate amount to Lucas County.
- Some contract customers purchase Toledo water, deliver it to their customers and produce their own bills.
Most customers are billed on a quarterly basis. Large commercial and industrial customers are billed on a monthly basis.
DPU accepts monthly payments in any amount from customers who prefer to make smaller, monthly payments rather than paying quarterly. DPU deducts any of these “early-bird” payments from the quarterly bill, which is due at the regular time.
Bills are normally mailed within 3 days of the meter reading and are due 15 business days after the bill is produced. Due dates are displayed on the billing statement. Payment must be received by the due date in order to avoid late payment charges. Account and billing information is available from 7 am to 6 pm on normal business days by selecting Option 4 after dialing Customer Service at 419-245-1800.
NOTE: DPU is planning to provide utility statements online for customers to monitor their usage, see their next meter read dates and view billing and payment activity. Watch for online billing in 2014!
When DPU personnel do not read a meter for any reason, the amount of water used for that billing period is estimated using historical data. Charges for unbilled consumption will be calculated and a “back-bill” that captures actual usage will be issued to the customer only when an actual meter reading is obtained.
NOTE: The longer estimated bills continue, the greater the likelihood you may receive an unexpected “catch up” bill statement once the actual usage is confirmed. Customers are encouraged to prevent an extended estimated meter reading situation by taking one of two actions:
- Customers who receive an estimated bill always have the option to read their inside (actual) meter and call in the numbers to Customer Service who will reissue a corrected statement based upon actual water use.
- Customers may also contact Customer Service to arrange for an inside meter reading by DPU personnel.
The next meter reading date is printed at the top center of the bill. Customers may ask a Customer Service Representative to check the date by calling 419-245-1800 and selecting Option 4.
Customers who are unable to pay their utility bills on time are strongly encouraged to contact a Customer Service Representative at 419-245-1800 or in person at the Walk-in Center as soon as the financial difficulty occurs. Customer Service Representatives will provide guidance for how to best manage individual situations.
The essential points about equipment are:
- Water flows through the inside meter and so the inside meter reflects actual usage.
- The remote register is a device that is placed on building exteriors so that technicians do not have to physically enter each home or business to capture meter readings.
- Customers need to ensure that the numbers on the remote register (on the exterior of the building) match the numbers on the actual meter inside the dwelling by checking settings once or twice a year and reporting any irregularities to DPU.
- The meters and remote registers are owned by DPU; property owners are responsible to see that meters do not freeze by providing adequate insulation if needed, and also to ensure that they are not tampered with or damaged in any way.
Property owners are responsible for the entire length of service pipe from the Curb Box into the structure, which also includes the shut-off valve, meter and the rest of the plumbing on private property. In Toledo, DPU is responsible for distribution lines up to the Curb Box.
Property owners who wish to discontinue utility services must contact DPU to: 1. Schedule a final meter reading, 2. Provide safe access to field personnel for meter-reading and infrastructure inspection, and 3. Pay final bill(s) when rendered.
If the property is being sold to a new owner, it is a courtesy to communicate the scheduled turn off date to the new owner so that he/she has the opportunity to place the service in his/her name prior to that time and avoid interruption of service.
- Actual termination of utility services by the seller/account holder will only occur upon receipt of evidence of a valid confirmation number by Customer Service. Otherwise, charges will continue to accrue and bills will continue to be issued on the active account until it is properly terminated.
- Storm water charges will continue to accrue and be billed regardless of a change in ownership.
Customers in Toledo who have purchased new properties with no refuse containers should contact Republic Services at 419-936-2511 to receive them at no charge. Republic Services will also replace stolen containers for current homeowners one time. Republic advises residents to mark addresses under the lids if desired to differentiate receptacles. Citizens are also asked to notify Republic if they see stranded containers so that it can collect these and return the receptacles to useful service.
Remember:No Identification; No Access. Residents are advised not to provide access to homes or businesses unless they can see and verify the City of Toledo I.D. badge of DPU representatives and that they are properly uniformed. Field personnel wear blue pants and shirt or jacket with the embroidered City of Toledo logo patch on the left chest. All DPU employees carry and will prominently display their City of Toledo identification badges. They drive deep blue City of Toledo vehicles which also display the City of Toledo logo and “Water Division” on the doors. In most cases, DPU personnel have appointments to conduct service requests, but not always. Citizens with any questions are urged to call Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020 to verify that field personnel have been assigned work at their location.
The Homestead discount rate is provided for the primary, single-family, owner-occupied residence of Toledo homeowners who will be 65 or older, or who are totally disabled. The City of Toledo continues to offer the Homestead rate to its qualifying customers regardless of income level. Customers must contact the Lucas County Auditor’s Office to apply for DPU’s Homestead Exemption.
I’M NOT HAPPY WITH THE ANSWER I RECEIVED WHEN I CALLED CUSTOMER SERVICE ABOUT A PROBLEM WITH MY BILL. IS THERE AN APPEALS PROCESS?
Most issues are successfully resolved by Customer Service Representatives. Customer Service Representatives are often the first to hear about customer problems or billing issues. They are well acquainted with the rules and regulations under which the DPU operates and strive to treat all customers fairly. Customer Service Representatives help to identify whether the issue at hand is a misunderstanding that might be resolved with further explanation, a possible error, or in some cases, a policy or requirement the customer does not like.
DPU does have a Customer Appeals Process in place should a customer not be satisfied after speaking with Customer Service.
The Director operates all of the city’s public utilities under detailed Rules and Regulations that are found in Part 9, Title 3, Appendix C of the Toledo Municipal Code.
Appendix C is a comprehensive document with 28 chapters covering all DPU divisions.
At the suggestion of its Consumer Advisory Committee, DPU has drafted some of the information found in Appendix C into a more customer-friendly summary called the “DPU Customer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.”
THE CITY OF TOLEDO FOREMAN TOLD ME THE SANITARY SEWER LINES ARE FLOWING PROPERLY BUT I HAVE BASEMENT FLOODING--- WHAT SHOULD I DO?
This information may be helpful:
- Call a licensed sewer cleaning contractor to clean your private lines.
- If the problem is not in your lines, the contractor will perform a sewer line “sounding” to identify where the problem is located and mark the spot.
- The contractor will contact the City of Toledo Division of Sewer & Drainage Services with the location information.
- The City of Toledo will repair any lines in its right of way and reimburse the sewer cleaning contractor $200 for the cost of the sewer line sounding. Your invoice from the sewer cleaning contractor should reflect this payment.
Follow these steps:
- Wear boots & rubber gloves
- Remove silt & debris
- Clean floors and walls with soap & warm water
- Prepare a mixture of 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 cup bleach & 1 gallon water
- Spread mixture over affected area and allow to dry
- Thoroughly rinse area with water