We are committed to providing transparent and clear information regarding your water and sewer bill.
When you receive your bill, it’s easy to spot the amount due, but what about the other numbers? Here’s a “How-To” guide to make sense of the readings, charges, and more.
Water and Sewer Service FAQs
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).
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
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.
Can I pay online?
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
- Wastewater odors
- Electrical power outages
- Streetlight issues
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 10am to 2pm (except for City holidays).
What is “CAP”?
Our Customer Assistance Program (CAP) offers qualifying low income Single-Family Residential customers a 25% discount on water and 25% discount on wastewater charges. To learn more, visit Customer Assistance Program.
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.
What does flow factor mean and what is a flow factor appeal?
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%.
Flow Factor Appeal
Residential users may be eligible for a reduced flow factor if they are using large amounts of water to irrigate a lawn or garden and believe their annualized irrigation consumption is greater than 10%. Customers may request that their flow factor be reviewed by filing an appeal for a reduction of their sewer service charge.
Submit your appeal to:
San Francisco Water, Power and Sewer
Customer Services, High Consumption Unit
525 Golden Gate Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Each appeal form must contain the name and address of the residential user and a statement that substantiates the percentage of incoming water discharged to the sewer. All customers will be notified in writing of the department’s decision. For questions regarding residential appeals, please contact the High Consumption Unit at (415) 551-4780.
Non-residential customers who want to appeal their sewer service charge should contact the Bureau of Environmental Regulation Management at (415) 695-7310.
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, see the Rates Schedules and Fees for Water Power Sewer Service.
What are the Tier 1 and Tier 2 rates for water and wastewater?
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.
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, see the Rates Schedules and Fees for Water Power Sewer Service.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can also get this information by signing up for MyAccount at myaccount.sfwater.org.
High Water Bill?
Have you received a water bill that seems abnormally high? If you suspect your excessive water use may be the cause of a leaking pipe or plumbing fixture, you may qualify for our leak allowance program.
Credit for High Water Bills
To encourage customers to make repairs to leaking plumbing fixtures, we will provide an allowance credit on high water bills. The leak allowance program is open to all single-family residential, multifamily residential and non-residential accounts. We shall be the sole judge in determining the excess delivery due to leakage.
An allowance credit is applied to the customer’s bill. The amount of the allowance is equal to the amount over the account’s normal consumption, and depends on the type of leak that caused the high bill.
Apply for a Credit
Leak allowance credits are reviewed and processed by our High Consumption Unit. The High Consumption Unit is governed by the Rules and Regulations Governing Water Service to Customers, Section D, Rule 6 (see below).
- Apply for a leak allowance credit by contacting the High Consumption Unit at (415) 551-4780.
Rules and Regulations Governing Allowance Credit
SECTION D, RULE 6
The customer has sole control of the water delivered beyond our meter and we are not responsible for maintenance and the repairs of the pipes and fixtures beyond the meter. In order to encourage prompt repairs of leaking pipes or fixtures the department may, under certain conditions, grant allowances for apparently excessive bills resulting from leakage beyond the meter. All risk of loss beyond the point of delivery shall be borne by the customer, except as otherwise provided herein.
(a) Allowance may be granted only when claim has been received and evidence clearly shows that the apparently excessive bill is due to leaking pipes or fixtures and not wasteful use and then only when repairs have been promptly made and reported to us. The allowance, if granted, will be for not more than two billing periods including that in which the claim was made.
(b) Allowance ordinarily may be granted on the basis of one-half of the excess delivery due to leakage but in the case of concealed leaks in underground or unexposed pipes, full excess may be allowed.
(c) Outside San Francisco no allowance will be made on account of leakage except when in our judgment, exceptional conditions justify allowance and then only for concealed leaks in underground or unexposed pipes. In the event, allowance may be granted based on from fifty to one hundred percent of the excess delivery. No allowance shall apply to customer taking water for resale.
We shall be the sole judge in determining the excess delivery due to leakage.
Charges and Terms
Upon receipt of your water and sewer bill, please review it carefully. A bill will be considered a proper charge unless a protest is made to the Water Department within fifteen days after the bill is produced. If you have a question about your bill or need customer assistance, please call (415) 551-3000.
Customer Services will require a deposit as a condition for granting, continuing or restoring water service. A deposit must be paid within (15) fifteen days to avoid disconnection of water service.
Bill Due Date
Regular bills are due 15 days from the date of the bill. Closing bills are also due 15 days from the date of the bill.
If you do not agree with the charges on your bill, payment should be made "under protest" to avoid delinquency collection action. Please make your payment and use the comment section on the back of the bill stub to make a statement regarding the disputed charges or call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000. The Bureau will then investigate the charges and will work with you to resolve the situation. Pending resolution, any overpayment will be credited to your account.
Past Due Bill
Any charge or fee not paid within 30 days shall be subject to a late payment penalty equal to one-half of one percent (1/2%) for each 30 days or fraction thereof on the amount owed. This late payment penalty shall also apply to wholesale customers.
WHERE WATER SERVICE IS TO BE DISCONTINUED DUE TO NON-PAYMENT, a 48-Hour notice is first posted on the premises. WHERE WATER SERVICE IS DISCONTINUED, full payment of amount due must be made in person between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at SF Water, Power and Sewer Customer Services located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue (at Polk Street) prior to the restoration of water service. WATER SERVICE IS NOT GUARANTEED TO BE RESTORED ON THE SAME DAY.
WHERE A LIEN IS TO BE ASSESSED AGAINST A PROPERTY, lien warning notices are sent to the customer and property owner, and a lien hearing is held once a month. WHEN A LIEN IS RECORDED, an administrative fee is charged and interest accrues. Removal of the lien requires payment of the administrative fee and interest charges associated with the lien as well as the overdue water and sewer charges. Liens not paid during the fiscal year in which they were created are transferred to the Tax Collector for collection. To pay a lien that has not yet been transferred to the Tax Collector, call Customer Services at (415) 551-3000 to determine the full amount due.
High Bill Allowance
The customer is solely responsible for all water use that occurs beyond the Department's meter. In order to encourage prompt repair of leaking pipes and fixtures, the Department may grant an allowance for a portion of an excessively high bill resulting from leaks beyond the meter. Such allowance will be granted only when the problem is reported by the customer in a timely manner, evidence clearly shows that the high bill was caused by a leak, and repairs have been promptly made and reported to the Department. To appeal for high bill allowance due to leak, please call (415) 551-4780.
Stormwater Charge Appeals
Customers who want to dispute their sewer services charges for unmetered properties should complete the Appeal of Sewer Service Charges Attributable to Stormwater Runoff for Unmetered Properties form.
Please submit the completed form and any supporting documentation to email@example.com. Include in the subject line “Stormwater Appeal.”