Philadelphia Water Department Bills

Discussion in 'Manayunk / Roxborough / East Falls' started by Belmo, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. Belmo

    Belmo Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone else noticed what you pay the City for water going up? I hadn't paid attention to my water bill in years, but this month's made me do a double-take.

    As a corollary: what are people paying for water? What's the average bill? Ours was very consistent (about $65 a month) until very recently, when it went up to about $85 a month. We have a small, 3-bedroom house, and don't use that much water (or at least I thought we don't use much water). I'm wondering where we fall on the water-usage scale.
     
  2. BarryG

    BarryG Well-Known Member

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    Did your usage go up or just the price?
     
  3. KingoftheHill

    KingoftheHill Active Member

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    Check your usage and see if any toilets are leaking.
     
  4. xerotope

    xerotope Well-Known Member

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    Our bill for a 2-adult, 1 toddler household is usually $45. In July it shot up to $150, and I'm pretty sure that was just one leaking toilet. Successive bills are back to normal.
     
  5. Hypebeast

    Hypebeast Well-Known Member

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    I've experienced the same.
     
  6. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    Okay, for my one-person household I've been paying around $65 consistently... quite high considering that i usually don't even shower every day. i most definitely have a leak in one of my bathrooms but i can't pinpoint it.

    so... any highly recommended (and reasonably priced) plumber that will come to South Philly for repairs?
     
  7. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    FWIW my 4-unit row home (5 tenants total) averages 8.47 Ccf per month, with an average bill of $70.69. The best way to properly compare or analyze over time though is to take your price per Ccf. Here's mine:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. thetalkingmule

    thetalkingmule Well-Known Member

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    Why not just call the Water Dept and ask for some clarification?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. waterman

    waterman Well-Known Member

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  10. billy ross

    billy ross Well-Known Member

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    Record the reading when you go to bed, or leave the house. Don't run any water. See whether the reading has changed after an appropriate time period - night, weekend, etc. if it has, and no one has run water, then turn off toilets or fixtures one at a time, to pinpoint the criminal.
     
  11. philly57

    philly57 Well-Known Member

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    My last two water bills were the same, to the penny. And overall, they're usually about $45-$55.

    On another note, I find it very annoying that in 2014, Philly Water is STILL unable to process bills electronically. All the other utility companies - even city-owned PGW - made electronic billing available years ago.
     
  12. Belmo

    Belmo Well-Known Member

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    This is why I asked -- I can't compare my old bills to my new bill because I never save the flipping things. I pay them, and then toss them. Who saves paper copies of bills anymore?

    Because I don't have any old bills, I have no idea whether my new bill is because of increased usage, or because the rates went up. I am going to wait to see what the bill is next month, and if it's still higher than it has been, I will call the Water Department to see if I can get some reading numbers. It's mind-boggling that they still haven't gone to electronic billing yet.
     
  13. Politburo

    Politburo Well-Known Member

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    There was a rate increase a couple months ago but it was ~5% so does not explain all of your difference.
     
  14. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    I jot the important numbers down in a spreadsheet each month so I can track expenditures and submit for tax writeoffs. Then I shred the paper docs. Not a crazy difficult process, but electronic versions would be MUCH better. It's seriously 2014...there are a million different vendors that offer electronic billing these days. The PWD/WRB is lazy because they have a monopoly on generation as well as supply, so there's no market forces at work to incent them to improve their systems.
     
  15. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

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    Shame Nutter couldn't update them too..at least its easier to pay online...

    https://secure.phila.gov/PaymentCenter/AccountLookup/
     
  16. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    The current online experience is quite lacking IMO. A proper online account system should allow me to manage my account, see past bills, download a PDF of the bill itself, set up recurring payments, etc. I have a couple rentals in the little podunk town I grew up in, and the town manages the water billing process there as well. There's literally 2 people in the water billing department. The online system they use is 1000% better than this one.
     
  17. radiocolin

    radiocolin Well-Known Member

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    Someone with the right know-how (and time) could probably write an app that scrapes that account look-up page to get the total. I took a look with web inspector but it's using ASPX and a good amount of encrypted data doing the transfer.
     
  18. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    I've done this exercise and that's how I know it's the third floor bathroom, but haven't pinned down exactly where in there... most likely something wrong with the commode, but problem could also be in the piping and system unable to maintain constant pressure in the pipes for some reason (if the pipes or the pumps aren't engineered properly?) and water keeps draining and system keeps pushing thru new water...but that's probably then a sign of a leak...


    anyways, just paid my PWD water bill online last night... you can pay using "e-check" and it only charges you 35-cents extra... I figure if I mail it I'll be charged more than that for stamp, plus I have to actually go and mail it. Online credit card payment costs several more dollars...but it's doable.

    once again, it was 5CCF... it's been 5CCF practically every month and the bill is off by a few pennies to a couple dollars from month to month, no matter how I use or not use the water.
     
  19. seand

    seand Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I recently discovered the "e-check" option to avoid the excessive service charge on various City of Philadelphia payments. That percentage makes a difference on a big bill, like property taxes.
     
  20. radiocolin

    radiocolin Well-Known Member

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    Sending checks from your bank is free. Just add PWD to your online billing. Choose your due date, the bank sends the check on your behalf and deducts the funds on the day you specify. Been doing this for years with check-only payers, never had a late payment.
     
  21. Belmo

    Belmo Well-Known Member

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    Here's a neat, cheap trick that someone taught me many years ago: put food coloring in the basin (the top part, not the bowl) when you know the toilet will not be used for a long time, like before you go to bed, or before you go to work. When you get back, see if any of the food coloring has seeped into the bowl. Most constant-flow leaks in a terlet occur in the basin, not the bowl (the basin is where the pipes put the water, remember), and a bad seal between the basin and the bowl can cause a slow leak that can be very hard to notice otherwise. The food coloring is completely safe, and might help you pinpoint the problem.
     
  22. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    thanks; will have to try that out.

    by "basin" you mean the tank that holds the water? The flapper that gets pulled via the chain/level when you flush the toilet has to sit back on its seat and make a good seal so that the water can refill that tank and not keep draining. I guess I can add food coloring to the tank water and not flush it, see if it dissipates over a day when I'm not there.

    Of should the food coloring be going into the bowl...that's clearly not what you said to do, I think.

    The times I have stood around to check if I can hear the water seep/leak, I can hear the gurgling sound from somewhere but can't really pinpoint it, and then I see the bowl's water level shake/move, which usually happens due to water piping (head) pressure differentials, I think...
     
    #22 phillyaggie, Oct 9, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  23. Belmo

    Belmo Well-Known Member

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    Here's the way a toilet works, in a nutshell:

    A pipe goes into the basin, which is the top half of the toilet. You know, the thing that sits on top, is shaped like a rectangle, and (this is a law) in any house where an adult woman lives, a box of Kleenex will be on top of it.

    The basin is connected to the bowl (the bottom part, where you sit), via a ceramic opening (think a pipe). When you pull the handle, a flapper opens, and the water, fed by gravity (and a siphon, but I don't want to get too technical here), goes into the bowl, forcing your offal into the bowels of the earth.

    The important thing here is that the only place that water goes into -- the only place that a pipe feeds water into -- is the basin. Water only goes into the bowl through the basin.

    The flapper is the thing that seals the space between the basin and the bowl, the thing that keeps water from going down into the bowl when you're not pulling the handle. These rubber things are are notoriously cheap, and notoriously prone to failure. And a flapper leak can be hard to spot -- you can usually hear water running, but sometimes you can't. But even a very slow leak can lead to wasting (and having to pay for) a lot of water.

    So to check a leak at the flapper, you put a few drops of food coloring into the basin (the top part), and see if you get any color in the bowl when the toilet is not being flushed. If your flapper seal is good, the water in your bowl will stay clear. If your flapper is not watertight, you'll see color in the bowl. It's an easy and cheap test, and the food coloring will not do any damage to the porcelain or your plumbing. Like I said, it's a good way to test to see if the seal between your basin and bowl is good, or is leaking.
     
  24. paul100

    paul100 Well-Known Member

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    Yes he means the tank. I don't think any manufacturer calls it a basin any more.
     
  25. Belmo

    Belmo Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to update my vocabulary. I might agree to call it a toilet tank, but I'm never going to give up the word "icebox." :D
     
  26. philly57

    philly57 Well-Known Member

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    Right, but you're talking about electronic bill payment, not electronic billing. Like you, I pay my PWD bill online through my bank. But I still have to have the paper bill to know how much I owe. Not quite the same as having bills emailed to you and saved.
     
  27. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    The technical term for seeing your bill electronically/online is "bill presentment". Definitely different from electronic billpay, as you said.
     
  28. radiocolin

    radiocolin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, getting the paper bill sucks, but once I get that I just enter the number. No fees, no stamps.
     
  29. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    Philly has a plan to replace decaying water pipes and sewers. And you will pay for it
     
  30. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

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