How much will my water bill be under the new rate structure?
Well, we can’t predict the future (or the weather!), but we do have a couple of tools to help you estimate what the charges might be. First, pull out your last bill with the water charges. Do you see the little graph of your account’s water usage for the last 12 months? If you have no reason to believe that this year’s consumption amount will be much different than last year at the same time, then go to our handy-dandy rate calculator at http://www.spokanecity.org/services/calculators/utilities/default.aspx, and plug in that amount. This will help you estimate what your charges might be.
Do I qualify for a water stewardship rebate?
As long as you have a residential City of Spokane utility account, and that you have purchased/installed a Smart Controller or High-Efficiency Toilet after January 1, 2011, you should qualify. Both applications and related directions are located under the rebate program page on waterstewardship.org. Look for the little picture of the toilet and/or hose.
If you are NOT a City of Spokane Water customer, look up who your water provider is on your last bill, and check with them. Many water companies have water conservation programs, especially in Summer. Not sure if you have a City of Spokane account?…call us, #625-7800.
Does my apartment building or condo qualify? How about a PUD?
Unfortunately, the program is only for residential customers. Commercial accounts don’t qualify. The rates for commercial water customers did not change this year, therefore commercial accounts do not qualify for the rebates. Most condos and/or apartment complexes are defined as commercial, and are therefore not eligible.
PUD homeowners DO qualify, but the “rules” for obtaining your rebate are a little different (it wouldn’t make sense to credit the account of the Homeowner’s Association, when you, the homeowner, actually bought the product). For more information on PUD’s, call 625-7800.
What kind of rebate can I expect to get?
The rebate will come to you as a credit on your City of Spokane utility account (a credit on your water bill). This is why you must have a City of Spokane utility account to qualify. We do not cut refund checks (except in the case of a homeowner in a PUD).
How much of a rebate can I expect to get?
Well, that really depends. The toilet rebate is easy: you’ll get $100 utility bill credit per high-efficiency toilet purchased/installed. But the Smart Controller rebate is a little more complicated. There is such a broad range of products available. The rebate is calculated based on what type of product you purchase, and how big your yard is (how many zones your sprinkler system has).
What kind of Smart Controller should I buy?
That’s hard to say. The best product for you is totally dependent on your particular yard. We suggest starting with a licensed irrigation contractor (sprinkler company) for the best advice on what type of controller to get. OR, if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can check our website for some direct supply companies that wholesale Smart Controllers (see page 5 of the “Service Requirements and Product Specifications” document). These suppliers aren’t equipped to install it for you, but they can be a good resource or second-opinion on what product is best for you and your system.
Can you tell me the name of a good Irrigation Contractor (Sprinkler Company)?
Unfortunately we can’t. The City of Spokane cannot endorse any particular irrigation company over any other. But, we can tell you that there are dozens listed in the yellow pages, and most all of them are aware of our “Slow the Flow” rebate program. You may even want to check with the Better Business Bureau. Just make sure that the company you choose is licensed.
Remember that before submitting your application for the Smart Controller rebate, a licensed contractor must fill out their half of the application form. This includes the company’s license number, signature and date of install. You will also need to include a copy of your invoice with your application, so we can see what work was done and what product(s) were purchased.
What if I don’t want to use an Irrigation Contractor (Sprinkler Company)?
Are you a “Do-It-Yourselfer”? A DIY? You can purchase a Smart Controller from a supplier (we have some listed on our website), and install it yourself. But since the application requires that a licensed contractor sign-off on your paperwork, we (the City) will provide a Water Auditor for you!
After you install your Smart Controller, give us a call at #625-7800, and we will schedule an appointment for our Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, Ben Toombs, to visit your home at no charge to you. He will do a three point inspection, make sure your controller is installed correctly, and will even turn on your system to give it a check (Are the heads all functioning and facing in the right direction? Is the timer clock set correctly? Are all the areas being evenly covered? Etc.).
After the audit is complete, Ben will sign off on your application and bring it back to our office with him…you don’t even have to mail it! We’ll process it here in the Water Dept. and then send it on to Utility Billing to add your rebate to your account.
What is an HET? What do I need to do to get the rebate?
An HET (or High-Efficiency Toilet) is one that flushes between 1.2 and 1.8 gallons per flush (gpf). To get the rebate you need to send in:
- A completed application, including account number
- A receipt (or copy of a receipt), indicating what you purchased. If the receipt says “HET”, you don’t even need to bother with the third thing, which is….
- Proof that the toilet you purchased is indeed a qualifying toilet. This is usually something from the packaging that came with the toilet. Some examples are: the Water Sense logo, copy of the directions or box labels that lists the gpf, etc.
Send in those three things and you are good to go!
Is there a limit to the amount of HET’s?
No! Water conservation is water conservation. So, for example, if you convert all 3 toilets in your home to HET’s, you are eligible for a $300 rebate ($100 per toilet).
I am a landlord. Can I install HET’s or Smart Controllers in my properties and still get a rebate?
As long as your properties are deemed residential (not commercial, like condos or apartment complexes), you can purchase and install HET’s or Smart Controllers in your rental properties, and be eligible for a rebate. But remember, the rebate will be credited to the account number at that address. If you, the landlord, pay the water bill for that address, you will see the credit. If the tenants pay the water bill, they will.
What if I paid less for the HET or Smart Controller than the amount of the rebate?
We don’t care what you paid! That’s fantastic if you find products that cost less than the amount of the rebate. In fact, we hope the amount of the rebate at least covers the cost of the item purchased. If you make money on the rebate program then good for you! Of course, remember that the real value of this program is not in the rebate itself, but in the savings on your water bill that you should see from now on!
What if the amount of the rebate is more than my water bill?
Then your account will simply show a credit balance if the rebate is more than the balance on your next bill.
Will the rebate be credited to just my water charges, or to my whole bill?
Your utility bill includes water, sewer and garbage. But your rebate is credited to the TOTAL amount of your bill.
I notice that the water usage charges (consumption charges) are only on my bill every other month. When will the rebate be applied to my account?
The credit will appear on whichever bill is being sent out next, regardless of if it’s a consumption bill or not.
How soon can I expect to see my rebate?
Once we receive your application here at the Water Department, we process it, and it gets sent down to Utility Billing within two weeks. Depending on where your home is in the billing cycle, if you don’t see it on your very next bill, it will be on the one after that. If you want to know for sure, you can call City of Spokane Utility Billing at #625-6000.