Some single-family residential customers in Houston will begin seeing new, actual-use water bills in June as city officials begin transitioning certain users away from a temporary set-usage system.

Taking a step back

In April, Houston Public Works began replacing 125,000 broken remote-read devices that were causing inaccurate water bills for Houston residents.

As part of Mayor John Whitmire's Water Improvement Plan, single-family residential customers were switched to set usage while the devices were replaced. Residents would only return to actual water usage billing once their remote read devices were verified and proven to be transmitting accurate water usage.

Current situation

According to a June 25 news release, some customers who have working remote reading devices will begin to receive official letters that their accounts will return to actual water usage.
  • The transition will happen no sooner than 60 days from the date of the notification.
  • The water bill will change from the blue set usage bills to white actual usage bills.
During the set usage period, accounts were calculated using either the average water consumption available on the account or fixed at 3,000 gallons per month.

Something to know

Randy Macchi, Houston Public Works chief operating officer, said it's important to note that with the transition, some customers may see their actual usage is higher than their set usage, which could result in a higher monthly bill.

“We want to ensure that you are fully informed about these changes and are prepared for any potential adjustments in your bill, allowing you to plan accordingly,” Macchi said. “This update only applies to single-family residential customers with an upgraded, working remote reading device."

According to the release, more than 34,000 devices have been installed since the April 1 launch of the Water Bill Improvement Plan.

Going forward

The remaining devices are expected to be installed throughout Houston by the end of this year.

Customers who have not yet received a verified functioning remote device can track the replacement using the Improvement Plan Dashboard.