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 …
EXPLANATION AND DEFINITION OF WATER THEFT
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:
- Opening valves at the curb or meter that have been turned off by utility personnel
- Breaking, picking, damaging, or cutting-off locks
- Bypassing meters in any way
- Taking unmetered water from hydrants by anyone other than an authorized official of a recognized fire department; fire insurance company or utility for any purpose other than firefighting, testing or flushing of hydrants
- Use of sprinkler system water service for any purpose other than fire protection
- Removing, disabling, or adjusting meter registers
- Connecting to or intentionally damaging water lines, valves, or other appurtenances for the purpose of stealing or damaging utility equipment
- Moving the meter or extending service without permission of the utility
- Any other intentional act of defacement, destruction, or vandalism to utility property or act that affects utility property
- Any intentional blockage or obstruction of utility equipment
- Any usage of unmetered water
NOTICES OF VIOLATION
A notice of violation may be mailed or delivered if:
- Evidence suggests the possibility of water service theft at the customer’s premises
- The violation does not present an immediate threat of safety or equipment integrity to the system. The customer will be ordered to immediately cease any unlawful practice.
No notice of violation will be mailed or delivered – and customer service is subject to immediate cut-off – in any of the following situations:
- In the opinion of CUD’s General Manager, theft of service is definitely evident on the customer’s premises.
- The General Manager states that a situation exists that may endanger public health.
- In addition, the customer will be subject to a $500.00 violation payment as well as service call charges, labor, and replacement parts as detailed by the utility.
- CUD determines theft of service has occurred, and the utility reserves the right to adjust the customer’s current bill and the bills for the past twelve (12) months usage. If the amount of service that was stolen cannot be determined, the customer’s usage will be set at 2-4 times the minimum bill.
- Service will not be restored until all payments for the following are received by the utility:
- Adjusted payment for utility service;
- Violation payment (see section above)
- All service call charges
- Replacement parts
- Reinstatement of service charge
- Our policy, based on the number of offenses, is as follows …
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.
- Meter box ($41.95)
- Meter box lid only ($32.95)
- Meter yoke ($108.99)
- Yoke cut-off ($28.16)
- Yoke check valve (¾” = $50.07) (1” = $78)
- Locks ($100)
- Meter bottom ($20)
- STEP lid ($45)
- Labor (determined by crew size and number of hours)
CUD DISCONNECT POLICY
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.
TERMS OF DISCONTINUANCE OF SERVICE AND REINSTATEMENT
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.
WHY DOES CUD TAKE WATER THEFT SO SERIOUSLY?
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 …
- CUD spends numerous man-hours at the site, researching the layers of theft.
- CUD’s Customer Service Team spends time coordinating with our Maintenance Department scheduling repair orders and ensuring fees are correctly applied to the account.
- Our Maintenance Department allocates time to ensure the water main and tap were made available to the new customer for service. This consumes time normally devoted to other tasks in service to our paying customers.
- CUD’s Management Staff contributes hours gathering data for the necessary court appointments.