Water Theft Policy

Across the nation, an accepted utility practice indicates that the customer is responsible for payment of service and other authorized charges. CUD exists for the benefit of all present and future customers in Rutherford County. While no customer shall intentionally be treated unfairly, no customer shall be treated in a way that compromises the interests of other customers.

The customer should understand that the costs of any water service not paid for are indeed paid for by all the other customers. This means CUD does not tolerate water theft or the manipulation of water meters. We make every effort to assure all the water we produce is metered and sold. If you suspect someone is using water that is not being billed, please contact CUD immediately. We will send a technician to investigate and secure any potential violation.

Because of the possibility of damage to infrastructure and because of the effect on measurements of water usage, any illegal connections will receive a citation and will be billed a cost recovery fee.

The following provides a description of water theft, how notices of violation are processed, and terms of discontinuance and reinstatement …


Tampering with utility equipment or stealing service will be grounds for discontinuance of water service. Theft of water service includes, but is not limited to, the following:


A notice of violation may be mailed or delivered if:

No notice of violation will be mailed or delivered – and customer service is subject to immediate cut-off – in any of the following situations:

1st offense $1,000 fine
2nd offense $3,000 fine
3rd offense Arrest warrant

If CUD must replace or reset any equipment due to customer negligence, charges will be assessed to the customer’s account, in line with current market value.


CUD will impose a $50 disconnect fee for non-payment of any past due balance of $50 or more. A customer’s service may be locked and charged a $50 disconnect fee for any 2 consecutive past due bills or failure to honor a payment extension.

CUD will impose overtime charges of $100 that apply for reconnects after 4:00 p.m. However, CUD will offer extensions on a current balance if a customer applies prior to the disconnect date.


Discontinuance of service by CUD does not release the customer from payment for service already received or from liability from payments due under the minimum bill provisions or other provisions of the customer’s contract.

CUD will not be liable for any loss or damage resulting from the discontinuance of service.

The customer is responsible for payment of all charges. That customer is also responsible for any rules or policy violations that occur regarding the utility service to that property.

In the event any customer fails to pay any utility fee or charge, the customer/property owner shall pay all costs of collection including court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by CUD in collecting such sums.

CUD has the right to refuse service to an applicant or to any member of an applicant’s household who is living at the same address whenever such person(s) is/are delinquent on any payment to the utility or had his or her service discontinued because of a violation of the regulations or policies.

Service will be reinstated only during regular working hours, Monday through Friday, except in the case of an emergency.

All records regarding theft of service shall be kept for a minimum of 3 years.


Because water service is so vital to our county’s infrastructure and continued growth, CUD makes great efforts to ensure all customers are treated fairly. When water service is stolen, it has the following impacts on CUD and our customers …