Several questions have been posed in the last few months on listservs I subscribe to regarding leak adjustments. Does your utility have a leak adjustment policy? Here are some things to consider when establishing or reviewing a leak adjustment policy.

Water leak adjustments

The biggest question with a leak adjustment policy is whether to offer an adjustment for the excess water usage.

Since all water delivered through the meter costs the utility something, either in treatment costs or purchase price, simply forgiving the amount of a water leak isn’t financially feasible.

Some utilities do have adjustment policies whereby the customer only pays the wholesale price for the excess water used. Others take a harder line approach and do not offer any leak adjustment for water.

Sewer leak adjustments

Most utilities will provide a leak adjustment if the water was lost due to a leak that did not enter the sewer system (for example, a leak in the supply line between the meter and the house).

Leaks that did enter the sewer system, such as a continually running toilet, pose the same issue as water leaks. The utility had to pay to treat the wastewater, so can they afford to offer an adjustment?

Considerations for a Leak Adjustment Policy

If you’re considering adopting a leak adjustment policy or thinking about revising an existing policy, here are some criteria commonly found in leak adjustment policies:

  • The customer must make a formal request (usually using a leak request form)
  • Proof that the leak was repaired (copy of plumber’s repair bill or a sales receipt from a plumbing supply store)
  • Excess amount of water usage to qualify for a leak adjustment (for example, the water usage must exceed twice the monthly average)
  • Limitation on the frequency of leak adjustments (for example, one adjustment in any 12-month period)
  • Maximum number of billing periods that may be adjusted due to the leak (for example, if the customer ignores the leak for three months, will you give credit for all three months?)
  • Calculation method for determining the amount of the adjustment

Quick poll

What services do you offer leak adjustments for? Please click here to take a quick poll. Once you’ve taken the poll, you can see the results to see how other utilities responded. I’ll publish the results in the next issue.