The City hired KPMG to conduct an independent review of utility billing policies and procedures. They analyzed three years of water consumption data from more than 60,000 Fort Lauderdale utility accounts. They also reviewed the meter reading and billing processes to evaluate the accuracy of the data being collected and identify potential anomalies that needed to be rectified.
KPMG’s thorough investigation found no systemic issues with the utility billing system, nor did they discover anything that would lead to inaccurate readings or erroneous bills. They did, however, offer some recommendations that the City is exploring to improve the billing process. For example, they suggested that the City review staffing levels and reporting structures to improve operational efficiency and meet growing customer demand. KPMG also recommended that we install wireless meters that leverage newer technology and enable you to monitor your consumption in real-time. That project is currently under review and staff is exploring new cost savings strategies for the procurement and installation of the devices.
KPMG presented their findings at the District 1 meeting in October. Some key takeaways from the presentation included an overview of the City’s utility billing process and suggestions to lower monthly bills. Neighbors should be aware that Fort Lauderdale uses a tiered billing structure to promote water conservation. Under the tiered structure, the cost for water increases as consumption increases, so customers who use less water pay lower rates.
It’s also important to know that water from irrigation lines does not incur sewer charges, so using a separate irrigation line to water landscaping can help save money on utility bills. The City Commission approved a measure recently that allows neighbors to prorate the fees to tap into an irrigation meter to make installation of a separate irrigation line more affordable. Now, neighbors can prorate the cost over 18 months, interest-free. The City is also expediting permits to help neighbors install irrigation meters as quickly as possible.
In addition to the independent review, the City commissioned a water and wastewater rate study to evaluate current funding and anticipated need. The findings supported updating our billing structure to ensure that rates align with the cost to provide services today and create financial stability to fund critical improvements to maintain service levels in the future. A new rate structure was approved in September 2019 and will go into effect in October 2020. Another change to our utility ordinance was to eliminate the 20,000-gallon cap on wastewater fees, which allows the City to charge customers fees for all wastewater used. While I support prudent measures to safeguard our utility system, I was not in favor of removing the cap and did not vote in favor of the ordinance.
If you have an unusually high bill, please contact our office. We have helped resolve many water bill issues for neighbors. Email the Utility Billing office at email@example.com and copy my assistant, Melissa Coningsby (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can help you.
Please click the link below to view the independent process review of the City's water meter and billing system and infrastructure.
Call ahead meter reading 954-828-5150
Please see the video clip below from the Fort Lauderdale City Conference meeting regarding water billing:
Video clip of Ordinance Second Reading amending Stormwater Management Rates
For all District 1 residents, if you believe you have an issue with your water billing or have any questions, please contact District 1 Assistant Melissa Coningsby at Mconingsby@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-303-9103.