Skip to page body Home Customer Service How To Environment Projects & Programs About Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Browse our FAQs regarding your water and sewer services.

• How do I open an account?
• What is my account number and customer class?
• How often will I get a utility bill?
• Can I pay online?
• How can I change my account information?
• How do I transfer my service?
• Whom do I call if I have a water or sewer emergency?
• Whom can I contact to obtain account information or ask questions regarding my water bill?
• What is “CAP”?

• What is a “CCF”?
• What does “flow factor” mean?
• How many rate tiers exist and what’s the difference?
• What are the Tier 1 and Tier 2 rates for water and wastewater?
• How are my current charges calculated?
• What is "fractional billing"?

• What is the size and rate of my meter?
• Does someone come to read my meter?
• Is my account information safe through the AMI?

• How much is a gallon of water?
• Why does wastewater cost more than water?
• Can I compare my water usage between this year and last year?

 


How do I open an account? 

Call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000 or visit the Customer Services Counter located on the 1st Floor of 525 Golden Gate Avenue, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm (except for City holidays).

Back to Top

 

What is my account number and customer class?

You can find your account number and customer class (i.e. Single-Family Residential, Multi-Family Residential, or Non-Residential) on your billing statement. Learn how to read your bill at sfwater.org/mybill.

Back to Top

 

How often will I get a utility bill?

Utility bills are issued on a monthly basis. The service period is approximately one month and you will receive your billing statement at the end of that billing period.

Back to Top

 

Can I pay online?

Yes! MyAccount allows you to view and make payments online, reduce paper waste, and provides water usage data as well as conservation targets. Sign up for MyAccount by visiting myaccount.sfwater.org.

Back to Top

 

How can I change my account information?

Your account information may be updated by mail, email, phone, or MyAccount:
• Mail – Use the back of your bill stub to provide updated information
• Email – Contact customerservice@sfwater.org with your updated information
• Phone – Call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000
• MyAccount – Log-in to MyAccount and click on the “My Account” tab to select “Update Account”. Once the changes are entered, select “Update My Account” to save your changes. Sign up for MyAccount by visiting myaccount.sfwater.org.

Back to Top 

 

How do I transfer my service?

Call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000 at least two days prior to your requested close date. We will transfer any applicable deposits and balances you may have. When starting, continuing, or restoring water services, there is a $61.00 non-refundable fee to establish the account and a deposit is required for our Residential and Commercial customers. The deposit is approximately twice the estimated monthly water and wastewater charges and will be returned after one year of good payment history. For more information, visit sfwater.org/startorstopservice.

Back to Top

 

Whom do I call if I have a water or sewer emergency?

If you are experiencing a water, sewer, power, or streetlight emergency or service problem, dial 3-1-1 or log on at sf311.org. Emergency or service problems include:

• No water service
• Low water pressure
• Issues with taste, odor, or color of your water
• Sewer backups
• Clogged catch basins
• Flooding
• Wastewater odors
• Electrical power outages
• Streetlight issues*

*In addition to reporting streetlight problems to 3-1-1, iPhone and Android users can take advantage of our mobile application, SFStreetLights, to report streetlight issues.

Back to Top

 

Whom can I contact to obtain account information or ask questions regarding my water bill?

You can call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000 or visit the Customer Services Counter located on the 1st Floor of 525 Golden Gate Avenue, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm (except for City holidays).

Back to Top

 

What is “CAP”?

Our Community Assistance Program (CAP) offers qualifying low income Single-Family Residential customers a 15% discount on water and 35% discount on wastewater charges. To learn more, visit sfwater.org/cap.

Back to Top

 

 

What is a “CCF”?

A CCF stands for “centum cubic feet” which represents 100 cubic feet of water. This is the most common unit used by water utilities for billing purposes; however, you may be more familiar with the gallon. One CCF is equal to 748 gallons.

Back to Top

 

What does “flow factor” mean?

Water utilities assume that a given percentage of the water you use will be returned to the sewers. This percentage is called the “flow factor”. For Single-Family Residential and Commercial customers, that percentage is 90%. For Multi-Family Residential, that percentage is 95%.

Back to Top

 

How many rate tiers exist and what’s the difference?

In San Francisco, we have a two-tiered rate structure for water which encourages water conservation. We also have a two-tiered rate structure for wastewater. For our Single-Family Residential customers, the Tier 1 rate applies to the first four CCF (4 CCF = 2,992 gallons) used per month. The Tier 2 rate applies to any additional CCF, or part thereof, used per month. To view and calculate your rates, visit sfwater.org/ratesguide.

Back to Top

 

What are the Tier 1 and Tier 2 rates for water and wastewater?

Water
Effective July 2016, Single-Family Residential customers are billed at a rate of $6.00 for Tier 1 and at a rate of $8.05 for Tier 2. Beginning July 2017, the same customers will be billed at a rate of $6.42 for Tier 1 and at a rate of $8.62 for Tier 2.

Wastewater
Effective July 2016, Single-Family Residential customers will be billed at a rate of $10.84 for Tier 1 and at a rate of $11.66 for Tier 2. Single and Multi-Family Residential wastewater tiers will be phased into a uniform rate of $12.40 for Tier 1 and 2 by July 2017.

To view and calculate your rates, sfwater.org/ratesguide.

Back to Top

 

How are my current charges calculated?

For residential customers, there are three components: 1) a monthly water service charge based on the size of your meter, 2) a charge for all water delivered, and 3) a charge for all wastewater discharged.

Meter Size Charges
We charge a flat rate based on meter size – this is the water service charge printed on your bill.

Water Delivery Charges
For water delivered, we multiply your water consumption with the Tier 1 or Tier 2 rate – this is the water consumption charge printed on your bill.

Wastewater Discharged Charges
For wastewater discharge, we multiply your wastewater discharge* with the Tier 1 or Tier 2 rate – this is the wastewater charge printed on your bill.

*We assume that a percentage of the water you use will be returned to the sewers. This percentage is called the “flow factor”. It is 90% for Single-Family Residential and Commercial customers and 95% for Multi-Family Residential customers. We multiply the water you consumed with 90% or 95%, respectively, to calculate your wastewater discharge.

NEW! As of January 2017, we have implemented “fractional billing”. Now your bill will reflect every cubic foot of water used. This will provide more detailed water usage data to help shape wiser water use.

Back to Top

 

What is "fractional billing"?

As of January 2017, we have implemented Fractional Billing. Now your bill will reflect every cubic foot of water used. This will provide more detailed water usage data to help shape wiser water use.

Back to Top

 

What is the size and rate of my meter?

The water meter helps us measure the volume of water used by residential and commercial buildings. Water meters also helps detect water leaks and identify well, pump, or irrigation systems issues.

The majority of our Single-Family Residential customers have a meter size of 5/8. Effective July 2016, the water service charge for the 5/8 meter size is $10.86. Beginning July 2017, the service charge for the 5/8 meter size is $11.63. This charge is a combination of customer service charges, such as meter reading, billing and collection, and meter maintenance costs. You can find your meter size on your billing statement. Learn how to read your bill at sfwater.org/mybill. To view and calculate your rates, visit sfwater.org/ratesguide.

Back to Top

 

Does someone come to read my meter?

We use Aclara Fixed Network AMI STAR® System to read water meters for more than 96% of San Francisco’s water accounts. The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology uses a wireless network to transmit hourly water consumption data to our billing system. Not only can you monitor your daily water usage, you can also detect leaks faster than with manually-read meters. To register and view your daily and monthly usage, sign up at myaccount.sfwater.org.

Back to Top

 

 

Is my account information safe through the AMI?

The Aclara Fixed Network AMI STAR® System transmits only the water meter readings, meter ID number, and diagnostic information – personal information is not transmitted. For more information, visit sfwater.org/ami.

Back to Top

  

How much is a gallon of water?

Effective July 2017, water costs $0.0123 per gallon while wastewater costs $0.0149 per gallon based on an average of 43 gallons used per day, per person. For less than three pennies per gallon, you are investing in the water you use, the treatment of the sewage you generate, 24/7 operations and maintenance, and critical investments in our infrastructure.

Back to Top

 

Why does my wastewater rate cost more than my water rate?

The cost of wastewater is based on the collection, transporting, treating, and disposing each unit of wastewater discharged into the sewer system. The complex biological systems used to treat wastewater are costly to build and operate ¬- a necessity to protect public health and environmental quality.

Back to Top

 

Can I compare my water usage between this year and last year?

Yes! You can compare your current water consumption this billing period with the same billing period from the previous year. This chart can be found on your paper billing statement.

Back to Top

Last updated: 1/6/2017 3:27:44 PM