1Why is my bill so high?
There are many reasons why a water bill can seem high. The basic calculation for determining a utility charge is (Rate X Gallons) = Charge. To understand if a charge is high, we must first ask the question “is my consumption higher than it should be?”
According to the USGS, a United States Government Science Organization, the average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. That usage is comprised of what is used in toilets, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, etc. That equates to 2,400 to 3,000 gallons per person, per month (Water Q&A: How much water do I use at home each day?). In most multi-family dwellings, usage will be slightly lower that the national average. A general per person average would be between 1,500 – 3,000 gallons per month. If you have two individuals living in your home, your usage should be between 3,000 – 6,000 gallons per month. Always remember, usage habits vary. Some like taking a 20 minute shower daily. Others take a ten minute shower.
When someone perceives that their charge is too high, they will often ask if the meter is malfunctioning. A faulty meter is the cause of high usage in less than 1% of the evaluations conducted. A defective meter will usually underreport usage, or cause lower than expected consumption. The number one cause of high usage is a toilet issue. Toilets often develop leakage issues resulting from a flapper that no longer seals or is misaligned. These types of leaks can waste between a few hundred gallons to tens of thousands of gallons per month, depending on the severity. If you periodically hear water filling the toilet when it is not in use, you probably have a leak. To test for a toilet leak, put ceramic safe coloring in the back of the toilet (fill tank). After 15 minutes, look in the toilet bowl. If the water is changing color, there is a leak.
2Where does the rate for my utility come from?
Each multi-family community obtains utility services from a local provider such as Duke Energy or the County Water Department. Think Utility Services obtains the rate code from the utility supplier, and assess it on behalf of the community to the individual consumer. Utility costs are not marked up, and no profit is made through the sale thereof. All billing is transacted as a cost recovery mechanism for a community. Think Utility Services derives its operating revenue from a billing fee that is clearly delineated on each invoice mailed.
By way of an example, The City of Branch Creek, South Carolina receives its water and sewer services from the Branch Creek Water Department. The water department provides one main line for the entire community, and the usage is measured by a large meter located near the property line. The community has installed individual meters inside each dwelling so that the residents can pay for what they actually consume. Think Utility Services obtains the rate code from the Branch Creek Water Department, and applies it to each unit’s consumption to create charges, and ultimately invoice for water and sewer.
3How often are invoices generated?
Monthly (approximately every 30 days)
4When will my meter be read?
Meters are read approximately every 30 days. Each bill generated indicates the approximate date of the next scheduled reading. This information is located in the middle margin of the utility bill.
5Why am I charged a billing fee?
Think Utility Services does not profit from utilities. The price assessed by the utility provider is the price you pay. The billing fee is what we assess for meter reading, invoice production, mailing, collecting funds, providing a customer service call center and maintaining web-based account and payment services.
6What is an Activation/ Deactivation Fee?
These fees are assessed to open or close an account, and offset the costs involved.
7What is a demand notice and fee?
In the event an account holder does not respond to a late notice, a demand notice is generated and mailed. A demand notice fee will also be applied to the account. This notice is generated 10-12 days after the late notice.
8What is the E-bill notification option?
The e-bill option is an alternative to receiving a mailed invoice. With e-bill, you will be notified via e-mail when a new invoice is available. The invoice may be accessed by logging on to your on-line account. There is no cost associated with this option.
9Can I access my account on the Think Utility Services website at any time?
Yes, access is available 24/7.
10Why am I charged a convenience fee for using credit cards or an ACH?
Think Utility Services relies on third party vendors to transfer money from credit cards or financial institutions (ACH) to our bank account. There are costs associated with these transactions. The convenience fees defray these expenses. We could hide these by increasing the billing fee, but then everyone would pay more. Conversely, it seemed fair to allow those that use these services to pay for them.
Currently, using a credit card to render payment online has a convenience fee of $3.95. If made over the telephone, the fee is $4.95. ACH payments are $2.95. All convenience fees are disclosed in advance by the Think Utility Services website, or by our Customer Service Representatives. Those inquiring are given the opportunity to use other methods of payment.
11What are free methods of payment?
Checks and money orders are always accepted. Additionally, most banks offer online bill payment services as a benefit of being an account holder. As a tip, it takes several days for these payments to reach Think Utility Service. Please allow enough time to make payment before the due date.
12Can my invoice due date be changed?
The due date on an invoice is dependent on the date the invoice was generated. All invoices for a community are generated at the same time each month. To change an individual due date, all the invoices for a community would have to be generated on a different day. Think Utility Services can only make changes to a communities generation date, or the length of time given to pay, at the direction of Property Management or an Association’s Board.
13Can I be put on a payment plan?
Think Utility Services, Inc. invoices and collects payments on behalf of a multi-family community. Ultimately, all outstanding balances are owed to the community you live in. Consequently, we cannot offer a payment plan unless it is requested by Property Management or an Association Board. Additionally, a payment plan will not prevent late fees from accruing.
14Is it possible to trace my Think Utility Services invoice?
Yes, all invoices are bar coded and can be traced to every USPS location where it is scanned. The invoice can no longer be traced when it is placed with a local mail truck for final delivery.
15Why does my invoice have two sets of meter readings with different usage values?
This usually indicates that your home has two meters that are being read. Occasionally, two water meters must be installed to capture all water consumption. This would result in two sets of meter readings. Likewise, you may have one water meter and a gas or electric meter that are being read.
16My Property Manager says that I appear on their Think Utility Services Aged receivables (AR) report. What does this mean?
An AR report lists all accounts with overdue balances. If your name appears on the report, it means you have an overdue, unpaid balance. It is provided to every community monthly.
17How does a person set up their utility services from us and who do they contact?
Generally, it is the responsibility of your Property Management to notify Think Utility Services of a move in or move out. To ensure you receive timely service, please feel free to complete the Customer Service “Contact Us” page by clicking the Sales/ Customer Service Button at the top of this page. A representative will contact your property management to confirm the information. Please leave a contact e-mail or telephone number in the event that we require additional information. Please note that a condominium sale may require a copy of the HUD1/ ALTA.