Water customers urged to check credit card accounts
Credit card information for water customers who made payments in person and automatically online may have been breached in addition to those who made individual payments online. The vendor who processes card payments alerted the City today that the scope of the potential vulnerability has widened.
Previously, the vendor believed any compromise that may have occurred affected only online customers who make individual payments each month. Customers who pay by bank draft, by check or cash, or by phone have not been affected; payment by phone is a service provided by a separate vendor.
Online payments have been temporarily disabled. Payments may be made by calling 325-657-4323 or by bank draft. Payments can also be made by cash or check at City Hall Annex, 301 W. Beauregard Ave., from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. A 24-hour dropbox is also available at that location.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused customers,” Water Utilities Director Allison Strube said. “We are working with the vendor who processes our online payments to determine whether credit card information was vulnerable, the number of accounts that might have been impacted, and the time span over which that could have occurred.”
The City received a concern Friday that online water bill payments may have led to unauthorized charges on customers’ credit card accounts. The City immediately disabled the site, encouraged customers who had made online payments to monitor credit card accounts for unauthorized charges, and began working with the third-party vendor to install new software and a new server. Those actions are in keeping with state law, which demands that municipalities notify citizens and address such situations immediately and proactively.
The City’s vendor is still seeking to confirm whether credit card information was vulnerable and, if so, when. If the vendor finds that occurred, customers who made credit card payments during that period will be contacted by mail. In the meantime, customers are advised to watch their credit card accounts for illicit activity.
Any vulnerability regarding credit card information would not have increased the amount of a monthly bill. Customers whose water accounts are paid automatically online will not have to re-enroll for that service, unless they use a different card. Late fees incurred while the online system was inactive will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the Water Customer Service office, which can be contacted at 325-657-4323 or during business hours at City Hall Annex.
“While the risk of using a credit card – online and elsewhere – always exists, the City of San Angelo is dedicated to working with our vendors to ensure the most secure online experience possible for our citizens,” City Manager Daniel Valenzuela said. “Again, we apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”
Drought Level 1 takes effect Aug. 1
The City Council has enacted Drought Level 1 restrictions that limit outside watering to once every seven days and no more than 1 inch per week, effective Aug. 1.
The change from watering twice to once a week is dictated by the City’s drought contingency ordinance, which mandates the tighter restriction when San Angelo’s available water supply slips to 24 months. Twenty-four months is a worst-case scenario that assumes no rainfall or runoff into San Angelo’s reservoirs over that two-year span.
“San Angelo has for years now embraced water conservation, realizing how vital an adequate water supply is for the continued growth of our community,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said. “We are now asking our citizens to be even more mindful about their water usage and to redouble their conservation efforts. In short, we all need to do our part and be water-smart.”
Currently, the City’s primary water source, Ivie Reservoir, is at 15 percent of its capacity. Twin Buttes and O.C. Fisher reservoirs are at 9 percent and 7 percent of their capacities, respectively. Lake Nasworthy is at 81 percent of its capacity. The City is also using about 1.5 million gallons per day from the Hickory Aquifer.
Year to date, San Angelo has recorded 9.68 inches of rainfall – 1.61 inches below normal. The area has been plagued with triple-digit heat since May.
The use of water sprinklers and handheld hoses is prohibited from noon-6 p.m. when evaporation rates are highest. Drip irrigation can be used any time of day, but should not exceed 1 inch per week. Under the drought ordinance, golf course greens may be watered daily from 6 p.m. until noon the following day.
Water runoff of more than 150 feet from a property is always prohibited.
Residential users who use more than 3,000 gallons per month also face higher charges. Usage of 3,000-15,000 gallons will be charged at 1.05 times the regular rate. The rate for usage of 16,000-39,000 gallons is 1.1 times the normal rate. For usage of more than 39,000 gallons, the multiplier is 1.2 times the normal rate.
While the watering restrictions require customers to conserve water, the Drought Level 1 surcharge is meant to encourage consumers to be more mindful of their usage to stretch the community’s water supply as far as possible.
Should San Angelo slip to Drought Level 3, which is triggered by 12 months of available water supply, outdoor watering would be prohibited and higher rate multipliers for usage would be triggered.
To report a watering violation, call the Code Compliance office at 325-657-4409, visit cosatx.us/water, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message the City of San Angelo-Public Information Facebook page. Reports should include the address, the time of day, the nature of the violation and, if available, photos.
Water Customer Service
Water Customer Service assists citizens in signing up and paying for the utility services provided through the City of San Angelo: water, sewer and trash pickup.
Do not use DOXO to pay your City of San Angelo water bill.
Recently, some customers reported being directed to a website called DOXO to pay their bill online. The City of San Angelo's water utility is in no way affiliated with this service. The payment option for online payment is secured through our website at cosatx.us/waterbill. If you have questions or are unsure, please call our office at 325-657-4323.
Ways to pay
Five avenues exist for paying a City of San Angelo municipal services statement. You will need your account number.
* Online - Visit the City’s website at cosatx.us/waterbill. Online credit card payments can be made month-to-month or by establishing an automatically recurring payment. Online payments are unavailable from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. daily and from 3:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m. Mondays for system updates.
* Mail - Mail a payment to the City of San Angelo Utility Billing/Collections, P.O. Box 5820, San Angelo, TX 76902. Make checks payable to City of San Angelo-Water or COSA-Water.
* In person - Bring payments to the Utility Billing/Collections office at the City Hall Annex, first floor, 301 W. Beauregard Ave. Business hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. An overnight drop box in the drive-through is available for after hour payments.
* Bank draft – You may set up an automatic monthly draft on your bank account. To establish a draft, visit the Utility/Billing Collections office at the City Hall Annex, first floor, 301 W. Beauregard Ave., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
* Phone – You may also call Customer Service at 325-657-4323 and select the option to make a payment over-the-phone. Long-distance users may call 1-855-419-2758. Phone payments are unavailable from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. daily and from 3:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m. Mondays for system updates.
For more information about the municipal services statement and payments, call 325-657-4323.
Info needed to activate services
- Service address.
- Valid Driver's license.
- Social Security card (for a residential account).
- Tax ID number (for a commercial account).
- Phone number.
- Mailing address.
- Rental / lease / purchase agreement
- Completed utility services acknowledgment & right to access form (online version or PDF)
Connections are scheduled for next-day service. (Customers must first complete a utility services acknowledgment & right to access form, which can be filled out online or using this PDF.) Customers requesting service may also download a residential application (PDF) or a commercial application (PDF). Customers who call on Friday will be connected the following Monday.
- Connection times are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- After-hour connections and re-connections are available Mondays-Fridays for an additional service fee of $50. All fees must be paid in advance during regular business hours. Requests for new service connection will be available on weekends and holidays. New customers will be required to come in person to complete paperwork and payment by 10 a.m. the next available business day.
- For more information, call Customer Service at 325-657-4323.
Costs to activate new residential service
- $20 activation fee for new accounts.
- $100 deposit for water/sprinkler (deposit may vary, depending on meter size and customer history).
- $50 sewer deposit (if no water service).
- $50 trash deposit (if no water service).
- $50 after-hours connection fee (if applicable).
- If transferring service, your deposit will transfer as well.
Understanding your municipal services statement
The municipal services statement you receive monthly from the City of San Angelo includes fees other than water. Depending upon a household’s usage, water fees can represent as little as 35 percent of the monthly bill, with charges for trash service, storm water and sewer accounting for the balance.
Here’s a line-item primer for each of the charges that appear on a residential statement:
- Trash service - provided by Republic Services, with whom the City contracts for trash service and landfill operations.
- Trash sales tax - 8.25-percent sales tax applied to trash service charges.
- Storm water fee - determined by the amount of impervious area on a property – typically roofs, driveways, patios, walkways and sidewalks – that contribute to rainwater flowing into the storm water drainage system.The fees help fund City efforts to meet federally mandated regulations for maintaining those systems. Storm water fee rates are tiered. As impervious surface area increases, a higher rate applies. The average residential homeowner pays $3 or $4 per month.
- Sewer base fee - determined by the size of the customer’s water meter. The fees fund the operation of the wastewater sewer system. Most residences have a meter that measures five-eighths of an inch and currently pays $28.02 per month. Of that amount, $4.64 is designated for capital improvements to the sewer system.
- Sewer usage fee - based upon an average monthly water usage during December, January and February. Customers who average more than 4,000 gallons per month during that span pay $3.54 for each additional 1,000-gallon increment.
- Water base fee - determined by the size of the customer’s meter. A residence using a five-eighths of an inch meter (the most common size) pays $26.68 per month with $3.32 designated for water-related capital improvements. Water main replacements, Hickory Aquifer infrastructure and fees related to exploration of other potential water sources are examples of capital improvements.
- Water usage fees - determined by two factors: how much water a customer uses and what drought level the city is under. The water rate structure is tiered; as a customer uses more water, he pays a higher rate.
Water customers who live outside the city limits pay 1.5 times the rate paid by city dwellers. Water usage is billed in 1,000-gallon increments. If a new customer uses 1,500 gallons of water the first month, charges are for 1,000 gallons that month. The remaining 500-gallon balance rolls forward until it reaches a 1,000-gallon increment. If the following month the customer used 1,500 gallons, the charge is for 2,000 gallons of usage. For each 1,000 gallons billed, 95 cents is allocated to the water capital improvement fund. Each mailed bill includes a memo box noting the amount dedicated to water and sewer capital projects.
Other municipal service charges you should know about:
- A 15% late fee if not paid within 25 days of the billing date. Payments made after 5 p.m. apply to the next business day.
- A $25 fee for returned checks.
- A $30 fee is required to reconnect service. Outstanding balances and fees are due prior to reconnection.
- A $20 activation fee plus a deposit when an account is established. The amount of the deposit depends upon the customer’s credit history with the Water Utilities Department. The minimum deposit is $35. Deposits are refunded after a four-year period if the customer has no delinquent payments or service discontinued.
Customers who pay their bills online at cosatx.us/waterbill may note a difference between the online balance and the mailed statement balance. The online balance is a current balance and includes any changes to the account since the statement billed.
A conservation credit applies to customers who use less than 3,000 gallons in a month. Ten percent of the base rate and usage fees credit the customer’s account in the following month.
Customers who have questions regarding their statement or their service are encouraged to call the Water Customer Service Division at 325-657-4323; visit our offices at the City Hall Annex, first floor, 301 W. Beauregard Ave., adjacent to City Hall; or email Customer Service Manager Petra Trevino.
We want all of our customers to fully understand their municipal services statement and enjoy a pleasant customer service experience.
Current drought level
The City is in Drought Level 1, which restricts outside watering to no more than once every seven days and no more than 1 inch per week. Watering is prohibited from noon-6 p.m., as is runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch.