New Hampshire
Office of Consumer Advocate
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Understanding Your Water Bill

Sample Bill:

sample bill

Basic Definitions:

You will understand your water bill better if you know some of the basic terms:

  • Consumption – is the amount of water the customer has used during the last billing period. Consumption is measured in CCF’s (1 CCF = 100 cubic feet of water) and is measured as it flows by the metering point (meter).
  • Previous vs. Present Reading – previous reading is the actual posted meter reading of the last billing cycle and present is the most recent meter reading reflecting the current billing cycle.

How Your Bill is Organized:

While each water utility has its own specific bill design, the bill is typically organized as follows.

  • Account Summary: This gives you the current status of your account including your previous balance, new charges, past due amount and payment due date, and any payment received by the company.
  • Summary of Services: This identifies the various charges and includes among other things, taxes, and services. These charges are discussed in further detail below.
  • Return Page: This identifies your total charges and is included when you mail in your payment.


The Charges on Your Water Bill:

There are a variety of fees identified on your bill. The following are typical charges you will find on your bill.

Customer Charge :

  • What is it: This charge normally involves costs associated with the meter, meter reading and billing process.

Consumption Charge :

  • What is it: This is the cost directly associated with the amount of water consumed by the premise as identified by the metered usage during the specific billing cycle.

Quarterly Recoupment:

  • What is it: This is a charge normally assessed as a result of an increase in rates at some specific point in time. From the time the petition for a rate increase has been filed until the case is resolved the company has the opportunity to recover the difference between the old rate and new rate starting from the original filing date. This recoupment is accomplished over a period of time to lessen the burden on the customer.

Quarterly Rate Case Expense :

  • What is it: This is the cost a utility incurred in conducting a rate case before the Public Utilities Commission. Certain rate case expenses incurred by a utility are allowed to be recovered, typically over a specified period of time in an effort to lessen the burden on the rate payer.

If you want to dispute a charge on your bill you should immediately contact your utility company. The company’s business office number or toll-free customer service number is listed on your bill. If after speaking with your utility company the result is unsatisfactory, please contact Consumer Affairs at the NH Public Utilities Commission at 1-800-852-3793.


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