Cleveland Water provides transition information for Heights customers
Beginning on Jan. 1, Cleveland Heights households and businesses, along with about 700 University Heights households, will become direct service customers of Cleveland Water.
For 101 years, Cleveland Heights was a master meter community, purchasing water from Cleveland and reselling it at a marked-up rate. Water was a source of revenue for the city until recently, when infrastructure deterioration caused the Cleveland Heights Water Department to operate at increasing losses.
Several hundred Heights residents gathered at the Cleveland Heights Community Center on Oct. 26 and 29, to hear Cleveland Water Commissioner Alex Margevicius discuss the upcoming transition. (Business owners attended a separate session on Oct. 28.)
Among the topics Margevicius covered were rates and billing, metering, affordability programs and fraud prevention.
In early November, the Cleveland Water Department mailed a booklet to all affected Heights households and businesses, containing the same information discussed at the October meetings.
Water customers will now receive monthly bills from Cleveland Water, which previously billed on a quarterly basis. Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will also switch to monthly billing. Cleveland Heights will continue to bill for landfill and local sewer, but on a quarterly basis.
During the second quarter of 2017, Cleveland Water will begin replacing water meters. The new meters will issue alerts within seven days if a customer’s water usage changes from its typical pattern. The utility will then notify the customer. Hourly readings will be available to help in diagnosing problems.
Water consumption is measured in cubic feet. Cleveland Heights bills in units of 100 cubic feet (CCF), while Cleveland bills in units of 1,000 cubic feet (MCF). If a past water bill showed usage of 10 CCF in a month, the equivalent on a future water bill would be usage of one MCF. An MCF is equal to 7,480 gallons of water.
Residential bills will include:
- A $9 monthly fixed charge. (Cleveland Heights water customers currently pay $10.)
- A consumption charge, for MCFs of water used.
- A five-year monthly transition fee of $38.91 per MCF for Cleveland Heights residents. University Heights residents will pay a 10-year monthly transition fee of $11.81. The lower rate is due to both the 10-year duration and a one-time payment by the city of University Heights. The transition fee will cover the cost of bringing close to 16,000 new customers into the system, replacing meters, and making up Cleveland Heights’s deficit payments to Cleveland Water.
With the consumption charge and the transition fee, the first MCF used will cost a Cleveland Heights resident $69.73, and a University Heights resident $42.63. Customers from both cities currently pay $88.04 for the first MCF. Thus, even with the transition fee, bills will be less.
Reduced rates are available for those who qualify. Low-income residents can call the Cleveland Housing Network at 888-901-1222 for more information. Low-income seniors and disabled residents can call Cleveland Water at 216-664-3130.
Further details are available in the mailing from Cleveland Water and at www.clevelandwater.com.
Deborah Van Kleef
Deborah Van Kleef is a Cleveland Heights writer and musician.