News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 20, 2012

Separate sewer, water bills on the way

Terre Haute residents have received one bill for both services for several years

TERRE HAUTE — The City of Terre Haute is returning to the business of billing customers itself for use of the city’s sewer system.

Starting in December, customers of Indiana American Water who are also users of the Terre Haute sanitary sewer system will begin to be billed once again by the City of Terre Haute — meaning they will receive separate bills.

For the past several years, sewer bills were simply added to water bills provided by Indiana American Water Co., and customers received one billing.

The change will not affect the amount of customer sewer bills, only their origin, said Brad Speidel, the city’s director of information technology.

About 25,000 customers currently use Indiana American Water and also use the city’s sanitary sewer system. About 3,000 well-water customers and about 1,500 Seelyville water system customers also will be a part of the change, Speidel said.

Indiana American Water Co.’s parent company, American Water, announced nearly one year ago it wanted to drop its sewer system billing services all across the Midwest, Speidel said. The Terre Haute community is one of dozens being affected, he said.

“American Water has made a strategic decision to exit the billing services line of business and will focus efforts on its core service of providing high-quality water service and reliable wastewater service to the communities we serve,” said Joe Loughmiller, external affairs manager for American Water, in an email to the Tribune-Star Monday.

Before about 2005, city employees handled billing for sewer services, Speidel said. However, now the city has hired a Tulsa, Okla.-based company, TPI Billing Solutions, to handle the job.

The annual cost to the city of services from TPI should be approximately $297,000, Speidel said. There will also be a charge for meter reading from Indiana American Water, he said.

In all, the total cost of the TPI billing contract and the payments to Indiana American Water for meter readings will be about what the city previously paid to Indiana American Water to handle its sewer billing services, Speidel said.

“It’s close, in my opinion,” he said.

The first sewer bills under the new system will be due in January. In-person payments can be made in the same locations where they are made currently, including Mike’s Market, Pages Market and all Jiffy Mini Marts.

Bills can also be paid by phone by calling 1-800-955-6598 or via the Internet starting in January at the city’s website, www.

terrehaute.in.gov.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes

@tribstar.com.

 

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