Utility Billing Setup

To initiate water and sewer services, customers will need to contact the Utility Billing office by phone at (785) 832-7878, in person at City Hall (6 E 6th St.), or by completing the Start Service request form online.

All customers most provide the following information to set up a utility account:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number or Federal Tax ID (commercial accounts)
  • Date of Birth
  • Working Phone Number
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Email Address (not required, but highly encouraged)

Any customer who is not the property owner must provide the above information plus a current photo ID, and a lease agreement (which includes the service address, the names of all tenants, and the term of the agreement) signed and dated by the tenant(s) and the landlord.

Transfer or Disconnection of Service. A customer will remain responsible for any utility charges until a properly completed Stop or Transfer Utility Service request is received and completed by the Utility Billing office—which can be initiated via the online service request form. The property owner of record is responsible for any utility consumption and all base fees that occurs on an inactive account.

If a customer owes a past due balance from a previous Lawrence Utility account the full balance must be paid before signing up for services under a new account. If the lease indicates there are multiple tenants at a given address, all tenants must have all past due balances paid in full before services can be initiated.

If a customer, who is not the property owner, is disconnected for non-payment and no longer resides at the location, the property owner may establish services in their own name after providing a written confirmation to the Utility Billing Office by email, US Mail, or in person that the tenant no longer resides there.

Customer Deposit

The purpose of a customer deposit is to attempt to collect all utility charges, which helps keep rates from unduly increasing for those customers who do pay their bills.

All deposits may be billed in two equal installments on the customer’s first two utility bills, unless they had a previously delinquent account.

Annual interest will be paid on customer deposits at the rate set by Kansas Corporation Commission. This is calculated in January of each year.

Non-Property Owners

Non-property owners are charged a $40 deposit when initiating a new account.

Customers who have a past due balance on a previous account are required to pay the deposit up front when initiating services.

Multi-Family

Multi-family customers are charged a deposit equal to the amount calculated by multiplying the number of units by $40 when initiating a new account.

Commercial

Commercial accounts are charged a deposit of $40, or the average of the highest three months cost during the past twelve months used by the previous customer or a similar business, whichever is larger, when initiating a new account.

Refund of Deposit

The City reserves the right to retain deposits indefinitely to assure payment of utility charges. However, the City will automatically apply the deposit balance to the final bill at termination of services and refund any remaining credit.

Customers can request their deposit be refunded in the following situations provided the account is at a zero balance. This request must either be made via phone call, email request, or in person at the Utility Billing window at City Hall. The refund will be applied to the account balance as a credit, upon request, according to the following criteria:

  • For residential customers, after 18 consecutive months of payments received on time and without instances of returned payments of any type.
  • For commercial or multi-family customers, after 36 consecutive months of payments received on time and without instances of returned payments of any type.
  • Refunded deposits will be applied to outstanding or future utility charges. If the customer has an active account, credit balances will be transferred to their active utility account. Refund checks for closed accounts may take up to 4 weeks for processing and require a current mailing address to be delivered via USPS. No refund checks will be issued for amounts less than $5.00.

Billing

Bills are prepared monthly for each billing cycle and are due 20 days from the billing date.

  • Payment may be made
    • online or through the Phone interactive voice response (IVR) by credit card or e-check;
    • with a recurring payment scheduled online or by setting up bank ACH draft;
    • through the mail with a money order or check;
    • in person at the counter by cash, money order, check, or credit card;
    • drop boxes with a money order or check at the following locations:
      • East of City Hall between the Riverfront Mall and City Hall
      • In the foyer of the east entrance of City Hall (8:00am – 5:00pm, Mon-Fri)

If payment is not received by the due date, a 2% late fee will be added to the customer’s account. All bills not paid within 40 days are subject to disconnection.

If a bill is returned to the City of Lawrence by the post office as undeliverable, the customer service representative will make all reasonable efforts to obtain a forwarding address and correct the address in the Utility records. In the event that the bill becomes delinquent, the Utility Billing office shall follow the collection efforts below.

It is the customer’s responsibility to contact the City of Lawrence in the event that they do not receive a bill within 45 to 60 days of initiating service, or within 35 days of their previous bill.

Billing Errors

On rare occasions a billing error may occur. The City requires that all billing concerns be reported promptly upon receipt of the detailed statement which is provided each month. No water or sewer charge adjustments will be made for any bills older than 6 months.

Rates

  • The rates for water and sewer are posted online.
  • Water base fees are determined by meter size.
  • Water consumption charges are determined by customer class. Customer classes are defined as:

Residential
Single-family homes, duplexes, and individually-metered condominium units, apartment building units, and mobile home park units used primarily for residential or domestic purposes.
Multi Family
Multiple-dwelling buildings through a single meter serving three or more family units are classified as multifamily residential.
Commercial
Entities engaged primarily in the sales of goods or services, or other non-manufacturing commercial uses.
Mixed-use Commercial – Properties, such as apartments mixed with retail, are classified as commercial.
Industrial
Entities engaged primarily in the manufacturing, fabrication or assembly of products that consume approximately 3 million gallons or more of water annually.

Charges for sanitary sewer usage are based on water consumption. For residential customers, the sewer charge will be based on water consumption during the “winter quarter”. Residential sewer customers are charged based on actual water usage billed in the months of December, January and February (winter quarter). For residents that have not lived at their current residence long enough to establish a winter quarter average, their sewage charge is based on the amount of water consumed each month. All non-residential customers are charged based on monthly water use.

New residents without an established winter quarter who are irrigating can contact the Finance Department to apply for an adjustment due to non-sewered water use. Supporting documentation will be required.

Low-Income Elderly Utility Rate

  1. The City Commission passed an amendment to the City Ordinance that allows qualified elderly residents reduced water, sanitary sewer and sanitation charges. The purpose of this amendment is to permit qualified low-income elderly persons to have reduced water, sanitary sewer and sanitation charges.  A low-income elderly person is one who is sixty (60) years of age or more before the 1st day of January of the year in which the reduced service charge is applicable.  To qualify for these low-income elderly reduced charges:
    • The individual shall have an income during the preceding calendar year from all sources of less than $13,354.00 or
    • Any elderly person whose filing status is “head of household” on their annual tax return, with a household income during the preceding calendar year from all sources of less than $18,106.00
  2. New Applications
    A low-income elderly person who applies for reduced water, sanitary sewer and sanitation charges, whose application is approved, shall pay a flat rate monthly charge per dwelling unit of 35% of the regular monthly residential water, sanitary sewer and sanitation charge.  The applicant shall supply all information required on all forms.  Applications received and approved prior to the first of any month shall be granted for the following billing month and through the balance of the year.  All qualifying persons must submit renewal applications annually to be eligible for the reduced rate through the next year.  An individual may transfer this special rate status from one address to another unless such individual is disqualified by other circumstances.
  3. Renewal Applications
    Renewal applications are due each year by April 15th. Any account set up at the low-income elderly reduced rate, which has not submitted a renewal application for that year, will have the rate removed starting with the May billing cycle of that year.  If an eligible customer files an IRS income tax extension and provides a completed copy of Form 4868 to the Utility Billing office, the Utility Billing office will allow up to a six month extension for their Low-Income Elderly Utility Rate renewal application. They will continue to be billed at the low-income elderly reduced rate during that time, as long as they were approved the prior year.

Billing Dates

Utility Bills are generated in four different cycles. Cycles are assigned based on location of the residence.

Utility Billing bill and due dates below are +/- 2 days:

  • Cycle 1 – Bill generates on the 22nd; Due on the 12th
  • Cycle 2 – Bill generates on the 29th; Due on the 19th
  • Cycle 3 – Bill generates on the 7th; Due on the 28th
  • Cycle 4 – Bill generates on the 15th; Due on the 6th

Estimation of Bill

When meters cannot be read, either due to extreme cold temperatures or technical complications, the usage will be estimated. In those instances an “E” will display in the EST field of the top portion of the bill.

The estimate will be based on the previous month’s usage using this formula:

  • Previous month’s consumption/number of days in previous service period = Daily Average; Daily Average x number of days in current service period = Estimated Usage
  • Estimated bills will be reconciled with the next month’s billing cycle.

Returned payments

For all checks, credit card payments, and bank drafts returned for uncollected or insufficient funds, the customer will be assessed a $25 fee to reimburse the City staff administrative time. Any such fees will be added to the account and must be paid with other past due charges in order to continue Utility service.

The customer will be notified via letter or email notifying the customer of the event and requesting replacement funds or alternative payment arrangements.

Customers, who do not make good on any returned checks or bank drafts and applicable fees, will be considered to have not made any payment, and will be subject to procedures for the collection of past due Utility charges.

Two episodes of returned payment within a year time span will result in that payment type being blocked for use in future payments.

Collection of Past Due Utility Charges

Balances past due

A disconnect notice will appear with your bill if the account is past due. If a payment is not made by 20 days after the due date account is subject to disconnection.

Balances over 60 days.

If payment is not received within 60 days, the City will take the following actions:

  • The account will be terminated and water service will be locked off, if not already done so.
  • A new account will be created under the property owner’s name for the service address.
  • Customer may be denied access to Utility services.
  • Remaining balances on terminated accounts may be transferred to a customer’s active utility account for collection of charges due.

Balances over 90 days.

If payment is not received within 90 days, the City will forward the name, address, and balance due to the City’s collection agency, requesting them to start collection activity.

Consideration of Credits and Refunds

Refunds

No refunds less than $5.00 will be made on a customer’s account.

If a closed account has a credit balance of $5.00 or more and there is no active account to transfer the balance to, a credit refund check will be issued. Processing can take up two months.

Leaks

The City of Lawrence may allow credit for Utility charges resulting from leaks on the customer’s side of the meter.

To be eligible for an adjustment, all claims must be submitted within 90 days of leak event. Only one leak event per year will be considered for adjustment.

Exterior and/or Hidden Leaks

Adjustments may be given for high usage bills when a water leak is found to be between the City water meter and the structure. Credit will be given after the following occurs:

  • Usage returns to normal
  • Customer provides proof of repair (invoice from plumber, copy of bill, etc.) accompanied by a statement confirming that a leak (or multiple leaks) had been repaired, and a description describing where the leak(s) occurred.
  • Customer submits a signed Leak Adjustment Request Form

No water adjustment will be given for leaks related to irrigation systems, or for excess usage related to negligence.

Once proper documentation has been received and usage returns to normal, a credit of 50% of the leak usage less normal usage may be offered typically for a maximum of two months.

A payment plan can be arranged on the balance due, if greater than $50, up to three months. The City of Lawrence does not repair or detect leaks on the customer’s side of the water meter.

Interior Leaks (toilets, washing machines, sinks, frozen pipes, etc.)

No water adjustment will be given for leaks occurring inside the structure (toilet leak, washing machine, frozen pipes, etc.), or for excess usage related to negligence.

The City will consider requests, fully supported, for adjustments due to non-sewered water use.

Vacant Residences

Account holders/Property Owners are required to pay for the base water and sewer charges when a house is vacant. If the customer notifies the City in advance, water can be Shut Off and solid waste charges suspended; base water and sewer fees will still be charged as long as there is a water meter on the premise. If water is left on, or consumption registers on a meter after being shut off, solid waste charges will continue to be charged each month. All questions about Storm Water charges must be handled by the Storm Water division.

If a customer no longer needs the water meter due to a demolition or remodel of the structure, the customer must request to have the meter pulled. Once the meter is pulled, all water and sewer base fees for that meter will cease. All questions about Storm Water charges must be handled by the Storm Water division.

Department Explanation

The Utility Billing office is responsible for creating and processing utility bills and monitoring the receipt of payments for the amounts billed. Utility Billing also responds to customer inquiries and provides follow-up if required. Utility Billing maintains approximately 33,000 Active Utility Accounts. Utility Billing Division assists with all customer move-ins and move-outs in the community.