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Updating Fees for Special Services

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The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a not-for-profit public utility. Our rates reflect the true cost of operating, maintaining, and upgrading our water, sewer, and power systems to serve our customers.

We also charge fees in certain instances to cover the cost of providing specific services, from optional in-person water meter reading to mandatory regulatory inspections for large industrial customers. These fees are designed to cover the cost of that particular service. If you don’t use those services, the fees do not apply to you and will not be billed to you.

We are committed to being cost-effective and equitable for our customers. That’s why we recently undertook a review of all of those fees to see if they still align with the cost of providing that service.

After that review, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission approved eliminating some fees, keeping some the same, and increasing others. In some cases, the fee structures were also updated. These changes take effect July 1, 2024. You can see all the water, power, and sewer fees that will be in effect July 1, 2024 here:

These fees are a standard practice for many public utilities nationwide. All of the fees are only billed to a customer to recover costs for performing their customer-specific needs or services. They are separate from the delivery of standard water, sewer, or power services. Some examples of these fees are mandatory regulatory compliance inspections, water meter accuracy test requests, and temporary hydrant connections.

These fees cover the true cost of service. With rate equity between customers in mind, it is important that we evaluate these fees periodically and update them with the latest cost analysis.

Eliminated Fees

We are always on the lookout for how we can remove fees for customer affordability. The following fees will be eliminated starting July 1, 2024:

  • The Pending Shutoff Notice Fee will be removed to avoid further burdening our customers who already have trouble paying their bills on time. Customers will be alerted on their non-payment either digitally or by phone, and will be provided with options they may be able to take advantage of to address their needs, such as our Customer Assistance Program.
  • The Flow Restricting Device Installation Fee was designed to charge non-compliant water users for excessive usage, when a flow restricting device was installed on their water meters to limit the flow of water going to their tap. The charge will be removed since the fee is rarely charged, while at the same, the removal of this fee does not inhibit the SFPUC from installing and removing these flow restrictors.
  • Some fees will be removed from the power fee schedule as they will be duplicative of potential future fee adjustments.

Fees That Are Changing

Below are some of the fees that are changing – some are new and others are going up:

  • Backflow prevention and testing could be required for some properties. This is a mechanical device to prevent water from the customer’s property from flowing into the water distribution system. The new fee will be applied to a new water service connection application, when we inspect an installed safety backflow prevention device to ensure that it is functioning properly.
  • Our work is to protect the health of our communities and our environment, while remaining in compliance with city, state, and federal regulations. We do this by implementing and updating processes, guidelines, and best practices. With that in mind, the SFPUC ensures commercial and industrial customers (i.e. non-residential) remove pollutants from their wastewater before they discharge into our sewer system (aka “pretreatment”).  The Pretreatment Permit Application and Inspection Fees that apply to those commercial and industrial customers were updated to recover the costs to review and inspect those businesses’ discharge and runoff practices.  
  • With a combined sewer system, where we collect and treat stormwater runoff in addition to sanitary sewage, stormwater management is a critical aspect of our work. As regulated by the Federal Clean Water Act and State of California National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, we have implemented and enforced the San Francisco Stormwater Design Guidelines and the San Francisco Stormwater Management Ordinance to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects. As part of this ordinance, developments that create or replace impermeable surface must submit a Stormwater Control Plan for review. The Stormwater Control Plan Review Fees were updated to cover the time to review the plans and coordinate with the customers.

For more information or questions, please contact the SFPUC Customer Service Bureau by email at or by phone at 415-551-3000.

Your Dollars at Work

Every day, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) generates clean energy, delivers high-quality water to 2.7 million Bay Area customers, and protects the environment and public health by treating wastewater and stormwater for San Francisco residents and businesses. Our work is almost exclusively funded by rate payer dollars and is committed to being cost-effective and equitable for our customers.

Water and sewer systems are critical to public health. We are committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water, and a combined sewer system that reduces flooding while protecting the environment from pollution. Your dollars pay for essential services and projects that protect public health, support pollution prevention and addresses climate change.