You probably got a letter from El Paso Water last week. The letter announced a new fee that our municipally-owned utility will start charging you unless you opt-out. From EPWater.org:
The new ServLine® Water Leak Protection Program will help EPWater customers with high water bills that result from qualifying leaks. Starting March 1, eligible customers will be automatically enrolled for a fee of $0.98 for residential customers per month and $1.42 for non-residential single occupancy customers per month. Any customer may opt-out of the leak protection program by calling ServLine at 915-273-3999 or fill out this opt-out form.
That’s right. For a buck a month, El Paso Water will cover any excess water usage that results from a qualifying leak.
If you opt-out, El Paso Water will cover half the cost of the lost water, according to the letter.
The new ServLine® Water Leak Protection Program is kind of like the electronics insurance they try to sell you at the register at Best Buy, or Amazon, or any of those other retailers.
Except that the utility is not even going to give you the option to opt-in, like those nice people at Best Buy, or Amazon. They’re just going to charge you, and if you don’t like it you’ll have to opt-out. Can you imagine the outrage that electronics retailers would face if they just automatically added the insurance without asking?
It seems to me like the truth of the matter is that El Paso Water is just looking for another revenue source, and a buck per customer looks like a pretty good deal.
What a racket, am I right?
Have you had a water leak on your property in the last couple of years? Or say the last ten years? Or ever? Next the City will start charging for meteor strike insurance. Because, you know, you can’t be too careful.
This dollar a month insurance won’t cover the cost of repairs, though your Homeowner’s Insurance might. This dollar a month insurance only covers the cost of the extra water, up to $1,000.
And they don’t even have the decency to try to sell you this insurance. They’re just adding it automatically. As a favor to you. If you don’t want to be charged, you have to call them up and tell them you don’t want leak insurance.
The letter also offers this rationale: “In our desert community, EPWater hates to see water loss. The utility hopes this program will encourage speedy repairs.”
I don’t understand how paying for some customers’ water loss will encourage speedy repairs. That seems counterintuitive. Instead, the conversation might go like this:
“Yeah, Plumber John, I’ve got a leak, but there’s no hurry. El Paso Water is paying for the extra water I’m wasting.”
The City is running out of money, and your bank account is their answer.