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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Water Utility Service FAQs


​The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has regulatory authority over some private or investor-owned utilities as well as  select mobile home parks and associations providing  water service. The PUC regulates some of these utilities on service issues only, and regulates some for both service issues and for the rates charged to customers. 

To be REGULATED FOR RATES AND SERVICE, the utility must:

  1. Serve 500 or more public customers, or
  2. Provide both water and wastewater services and the wastewater service is provided within the boundaries of a city. In this circumstance, both the water and wastewater services are regulated for both service and rates, or
  3. Request regulation by the PUC, or
  4. Charge or propose to charge a rate that exceeds a regulatory threshold AND 10 percent of the customers petition for rate regulation. The rate thresholds can be found in OAR 860-036-1910.

To be REGULATED FOR SERVICE ONLY, the utility must:

  1. Provide service to less than 500 public customers that:
    • Charges an average annual monthly residential rate of at least $24, or
    • Has been found to be providing discriminatory, or inadequate service.

Any association that furnishes water to members is subject to regulation as described above if 20 percent or more of the members file a petition requesting such regulation.​

If you receive service from a PUC regulated utility, first contact your service provider to resolve the issue. If unable to resolve your concerns, contact our Consumer Services team who will work to help resolve your issue.

If you receive service from a municipality, water district, or cooperative not regulated by the PUC, contact your service providers’ customer service department to inquire about their process for complaints. If that is not successful, contact your city or county supervisors or the board of directors for your service provider.

​For water utilities regulated by the PUC, the utility is required to provide two (2) advance written disconnection notices: one 15-calendar days before and another seven (7) calendar days before disconnection. Within 48 hours prior to disconnection, the utility must make a good faith effort to contact you or another adult at your residence to inform you of disconnection plans. You may avoid disconnection by paying the bill in full or entering into a payment agreement with your water service provider. Please reach out to them directly for potential payment plan options.

No, but the utility may perform an unscheduled interruption of service at any time as necessary to protect the health and safety of its customers or to maintain the integrity of its system.

Written notice must be provided to all customers for any scheduled service disruption, which can be a door hanger or personal delivery at least five (5) days in advance, or by mail at least 10 days in advance. Scheduled service interruptions are often required for repairs, system flushing, or maintenance activities  to ensure compliance with regulations for provide safe and reliable water.

​Although water utilities providers determine adequate pressure for their system, water pressure measuring 45-80 pounds per square inch measured at your meter is generally considered adequate pressure. The minimum pressure for safety purposes is 20 PSI.

If your water pressure is too low, you may request the utility to test your pressure. The first test in a 12-month period is free and must be conducted within seven (7) calendar days of your request. If you request a second test in the same 12-month period, the utility may assess a reasonable charge, unless the pressure is found to be inadequate.​

​The Oregon Public Health Authority’s Drinking Water Program administers the Cross Connection Prevention Program. Water utilities are required to develop, implement, and maintain a backflow protection program. All customers must comply with the program to protect the water system from contamination, and failure to comply is grounds for disconnection.

If you believe your meter is not accurately reading your water usage, you may request the utility to test your meter. The first test in a 12-month period is free and must be conducted within seven (7) calendar days of your request. If you request a second test in the same 12-month period, the utility may assess a reasonable charge, unless the results indicate your meter is not registering within the 2 percent performance standard. 

Yes, your utility may charge a late fee that is reviewed and approved annually by the PUC (for rate regulated utilities only). The rate is listed in your water company’s tariff or statement of rates on their website or in their office.

To avoid disconnection of your service, contact your utility to enter into a time-payment agreement. Water utilities must offer the following payments plan, unless the amount you owe is related to theft of service, tampering, unauthorized use, or failure to abide by the terms of a time-payment plan.

  1. Levelized Payment Plan – Allows you to pay down a payment equal to your average annual bill. This is your account balance divided by 12. After paying down the payment, you agree to make the same payment for each of the next 11 months.
  2. Equal Pay Arrearage Plan – Allows you to make a payment equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of your total amount owed, including any current amount due. Each month for the next 11 months you must pay an amount equal to the down payment, along with payment of your current monthly bill.

Initial payments for both plans must be paid within one (1) business day of your agreement. If you fail to pay as specified in your agreement, the water utility may disconnect your service after providing appropriate notice.