Please review the following frequently asked questions (FAQ) to assist with your inquiry.
Review our Louisiana Welcome Packet (PDF)
1. How can I reach Customer Care?
Toll Free Office: 877-623-3440
Local Office: 225-333-3319
- To mail your payment: PO Box 362130, Hoover, AL 35236
- For all other correspondence: P.O. Box 15121, Baton Rouge, LA 70895
2. What can I request from Customer Care?
Customer Care representatives are trained to assist you with a range of subjects, including account and billing inquiries, service order requests, water and wastewater usage history, or questions about your rates.
3. How do I get faster service when I have a question?
We strive to email and phone inquiries in a prompt manner. A prepared customer is time’s best ally. Simply follow the tips below to help speed up the process.
Tip #1: Be prepared and have the following information ready when calling or e-mailing us:
- Account name
- Account number
- Verification ID (PIN)
- Service address
- Description of the issue
Tip #2: Avoid calling when call volume is high between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Customer Care is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time, and call volume is usually the heaviest on Mondays. You may experience a shorter hold time or faster service by calling outside these times. For even faster service, email LACustomerCare@swwc.com.
4. How can I pay my bill?
Please visit the Payment Options page for more information.
5. Why do I have to pay a monthly “water base” and/or “sewer base” rate, whether or not I use any water?
The monthly “water base” and/or “sewer base” rate on your bill is designed to recover a portion of the fixed costs incurred in providing water service to your home or business. These include the cost of maintaining the supply, treatment, distribution and service facilities, including vehicles, fuel, and equipment. These are costs that we incur whether you use any water or not. The monthly rate does not vary with consumption, but rather is related to the size and flow capacity of your meter, unlike the gallonage charge that relates to your water usage.
6. How can I dispute a bill?
If you question the amount of your bill, you should ask for an explanation by email or telephone. A Customer Care representative will review your situation and take necessary action. A reasonable payment based on a previous 12-month average usage will be required while the disputed amount is being researched.
7. My water bill seems higher than usual. What can I do?
First, go check your meter. Your reading should be a bit higher than what’s shown on your bill, because you’ve been using water since we’ve issued your bill. Second, review your monthly statements to compare your usage to the same time last year. Look at differences in usage, not just the total monthly amounts.
A number of things can cause a higher monthly bill. Increases can be caused by the following:
- adding an additional guest or resident
- irrigation or outdoor watering
- seasonal changes, such as summer heat
- new appliance
- added bathroom
- spending more time at home
If none of these apply, check for leaks (see below). To help lower your overall usage, read our water conservation tips.
8. I’m having trouble with being able to pay my bill. Is there any assistance you provide?
We have a variety of options to be able to assist you if you are having a hard time making payments toward your water and/or wastewater bill. Whether you need a few days, or if your income limits your monthly budget. We recommend giving us a call 877-623-3440 to discuss your options.
8. Why didn’t someone tell me that my water service was going to be interrupted?
Interruptions in service can be caused by a variety of different reasons. We make every effort to avoid inconveniencing our customers with unscheduled water shutoffs, but sometimes these circumstances are out of our control. Most water outages are the result of water main breaks that we cannot predict. It is impossible for us to give advanced notice of these interruptions.
To receive a text or email about any interruption of service, login to your customer portal at myaccount.swwc.com to make sure you are signed up for our WaterAlert! program. If you do not have an online account, visit the link mentioned to create one and have your customer account information ready. Step-by-step information is available here.
9. If my water service is shut off for non-payment, how long will it take to have it turned back on?
Under normal circumstances, water service is restored within 36 hours after you pay your balance and all required fees.
10. How can the meter reader possibly read my meter when there is dirt on top of the meter?
Our meters are located in meter boxes that are placed in the ground outside of your home. As a result, rainwater, dirt, leaves or other debris can easily accumulate inside. Our meter readers are used to this and it is not a hindrance for them. To get a correct reading of your meter, they simply brush away the dirt and wipe the dial clean to see the numbers.
Some of our meters have an automated meter reading (AMR) device that is connected to the meter. The AMR component of the device is a radio transmitter powered by a battery. As the meter reading truck passes by the meter on the street, a data-collecting device records the meter reading transmitted from the AMR.
11. Water rains down from the sky and fills the waterways and lakes near our homes. How hard can it be to treat, store and pipe water into our homes and businesses?
It’s true that water falls from the sky, melts from the mountains, and runs down streams and rivers. The process of turning groundwater and surface water into safe water for your home is complex and goes largely unseen. Unlike electricity, which you can see coming to your home through power lines, and natural gas, which can have a distinctive smell, water is processed and delivered out of sight and typically underground.
In order to provide and maintain a reliable water supply that meets state and federal water quality standards, many expenses are unavoidable. Some of these include drilling or maintaining wells, operating industrial pumps to deliver consistent pressure, installing or maintaining pipes to transport it, reservoirs to store it, and plants to treat it. Residential and industrial wastewater, too, has to be treated and de-contaminated before it can be released back into the environment.
When you think of what you pay each month to get a clean supply of water for drinking, appliances, bathing and cleaning, the cost of that service is certainly a consideration, but it is important to also think of the value. Water and wastewater utilities are essentially delivering water on demand and safely taking away the used water so you do not have to deal with it. Think of the packages and groceries that are delivered to your home, for example. You pay for that service each time you use it—and you have to wait.
12. How do I check for leaks?
If you suspect a water leak, your water meter is an ideal checking device. To test for leaks, turn off all the faucets and other water outlets and keep watch on the scale on your meter. If the hand continues to move, you have a leak.
Regardless of the rate of water loss, search for the cause. It could be as simple as a steady drip from a faucet that needs a new washer. Know that toilet leaks are by far the biggest cause of higher-than-normal water bills.
Water meters have leak flow indicators. Learn how to read your meter.
13. What should I do if there is a water leak inside or outside my house?
In case of an emergency, such as a burst pipe, quickly close your houseline shut-off valve to prevent costly flood damage. The houseline shut-off valve controls all of the water coming into your house. Everyone in your home should know where the valve is, and know how to turn it off. If you do not have a shut-off valve on your side of the meter, it is your responsibility to have one installed so the water may be shut off in case of an emergency. (Learn how to install a houseline shut-off valve.)
If you have an emergency and do not have a houseline water shut-off valve installed, call Customer Care at 877-623-3440, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and select the repair/emergency option for assistance.
If the source of the leak seems to be coming from a utility facility or line, which can include everything up to the outlet connection of the water meter, please contact Customer Care at 877-623-3440, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and select the repair/emergency option.
Learn more about how to handle a water emergency.
14. If I have a water leak in my yard, why doesn’t the utility company repair it?
Our utility owns infrastructure up to the outlet connection of your water meter. This includes the portion of pipe that runs from the water main to the water meter. As the home owner, you own the onsite plumbing, which includes everything after the outlet connection of the water meter, including the pipe from the water meter to your house and a shut-off valve. Any line, valve, box, device, or leak that occurs past the meter is the property owner’s responsibility and you must pay for the water regardless of the presence of a leak.
15. Where is my water shut-off valve?
Your shut off value is located on your side of the meter. Your main water shutoff valve controls all of the water coming into your house. Everyone in your home should know where the valve is and how to turn it off. In case of an emergency, such as a burst pipe, shutting off the water quickly could prevent costly damage from flooding.
If you’ve ever had to turn off the water in the whole house just to change a washer, you understand how a shut off valve can make everybody’s life easier, especially if you had to go to the plumbing store halfway through the job. If you live in an older home or your builder didn’t install a main shut-off valve, you are required to have one installed according to the state plumbing code.
16. How are my rates set?
Our rates are regulated and approved in order to implement said rates. Utility rates are calculated based on the cost of operating and maintaining the water and wastewater systems, supplies and materials, as well as capital expenditures for infrastructure, such as pipelines, treatment facilities, pumping stations, storage tanks, equipment and buildings. Daily operating costs include but are not limited to; chemicals; laboratory testing; electricity; fuel; and the salaries of technicians, field operators, administrative personnel and others who help run the water utility.