A pending new law will affect DC Water consumers. Currently, the “District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020” is pending Congressional approval with the projected law date of March 15, 2021 (See https://lims.dccouncil.us/legislation/B23-0640). Some relevant changes are: (1) the deadline for a consumer to challenge a bill, (2) what DC Water must have on the water bill, and (3) reporting requirements for emergency events.
The new law changes the deadline for a consumer to challenge a bill in writing. The customer has 20 calendar days after the date the bill is rendered to challenge the bill. The clock begins ticking when DC Water issues the bill, not when the consumer receives the bill. The new deadline is a ten-day difference from 30 calendar days to challenge a water bill. Remember, you must challenge your bill in writing. A consumer calling DC Water’s Customer Service does not warrant a challenge to the water bill.
If you need to contact OPC, you should find OPC’s contact information on the water bill. The new law requires DC Water to place OPC’s contact information on their residential customers’ bills and website.
Also, there is a new reporting requirement for DC Water for emergency events. The reporting requirement consist of two stages. First, DC Water shall report within 5 days after an emergency event to OPC, Chairpersons of ANCs, and Ward Councilmembers representing areas that include affected properties:
- A description of the emergency event, including, where available, and the cause of the emergency event.
- A list of ANCs with affected properties.
- An estimate of the total number of affected properties
- A list of DC Water’s current and future actions in response to the emergency event Information, including a best point of contact, for owners of affected properties to report damage to or seek relief from DC Water.
Then, 30 days after an emergency event, DC Water shall report in detail to OPC, Chairpersons of ANCs, and Ward Councilmembers representing areas that include affected properties the following:
- Information on affected properties, including the number of affected properties and a list of ANCs with affected properties.
- Detailed information about the emergency event.
a. The information differs depending on the type of emergency event. For example, in an extreme weather-related emergency event, DC Water must report the duration and amount of rainfall and an approximate number of affected properties experiencing any sewer system back-ups.
- A list of DC Water’s actions in response to the event, including:
a. Offered relief to affected properties
b. Planned outreach to owners of affected properties
c. Planned actions to address the cause of the event.