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Frequently Asked Questions

Customer Accounts / Issues

Moving in: Getting service turned on

Moving out: I'm moving. What do I need to do?

How are deposit amounts determined for residential customers?

How are deposit amounts determined for commercial or industrial customers?

Will I get my deposit refunded when I turn off my services?

Will my deposit earn interest?

What if I have a medical hardship requiring power or water?

Bill Payment

   

What options do I have to pay my bill?

How do I determine my utility account number?

How can I setup my account payment thru bank draft?

How do I avoid paying penalties on my account?

How do I avoid having my services disconnected?

Will Winchester Utilities notify me prior to my services being disconnected?

If I do not pay my bill by the due date, will my utilities get disconnected?

My service has been disconnected. What do I need to do to get them turned back on?

What happens if my payment is returned for insufficient funds?

How do I cancel my automatic bank draft payment?

Are Winchester Utility customers paying for the power used by the City Christmas lights?

If I am getting assitance to help pay my utility bill, what does Winchester Utilities require from me?

 

Service Issues

Whom do I call if I have a utility problem after-hours?

Whom do I call if I have questions or concerns about my garbage pickup?

Bill Issues

                'Right and Remedies' 

       If payment in full is not made within 10 days of the due date, utility services with

       Winchester Utilities will be disconnected unless a dispute is filed in writing.

        If you wish to dispute any portion of the bill, you must request a hearing in writing

       and it must be received no later than one business day before the disconnect date. 

 

Can I receive my utility bill via email?

Do I have to pay the sewer charges if I use water for irrigation, landscaping, or to fill my swimming pool?

I have a higher than normal water bill from a water leak and I have fixed the leak. May I get an adjustment to my bill?

The meter reader left me a water leak notice. What does it mean?

I received a letter from Winchester Utilities saying I might have a possible water leak. What does it mean?

Other

What is project help?

 

Q: I'm moving within Winchester Utilities service area. What do I need to do to get service turned on?

A: Please bring the following to our office:

  • Lease or purchase agreement
  • State or federally issued photo ID
  • Cash or check for connection fee(s) and deposit(s). See 'Rates & Fees for information.
    • *Note: credit/debit cards can not be used for fees and deposits

Our hours are 7:00AM-4:00PM. We can not guarantee new service connections after 2:00PM. We can do paperwork for new service connections for the next day until 3:45PM.

 

Q: I'm moving and need my services turned off. What do I need to do?

A: You will need to do one of the following:

  • Come in to our office and sign a Customer Cutoff Request Form
  • Print out the online Customer Cutoff Request Form, fill it out, sign the form & Mail to Winchester Utilities
  • Print out the online Customer Cutoff Request Form, fill it out, sign the form & fax it to Winchester Utilities at 931-962-4214
  • Email a request to cutoff services to customerservice@winchesterutilities.com. Be sure to include all the information asked for in the Customer Cutoff Request Form

Click here for the Customer Cutoff Request Form.

                         **Submit form 3 days prior to cutoff date requested

 

Q: How are deposit amounts determined for residential customers?

A: Deposit requirements are based on credit history received from Online Utility Exchange. You have the option to determine your deposits on the results of the credit history inquiry or to pay the maximum deposit. If you elect to pay deposits based on credit history, you will be required to pay a $6 non-refundable fee as set by the Online Utility Exchange. 

 

Click here for current deposit rates.

 

Q: How are deposit amounts determined for commercial or industrial customers?

A: Deposits are equal to twice the monthly historical bill. If the office/building/business does not have a history, then the deposit will be based on like businesses in the area.

 

Q: Will my deposit earn interest?

A: Interest will be calculated annually for those active accounts that have deposits retained longer than 12 months and will be credited to the account. The rate of interest will be based on interest being received by Winchester Utilities from local bank.

 

Q: What if I have a medical hardship requiring power or water?

A: Proof of medical hardhsip requiring utilities must be supplied to Winchester Utilities.

A medical emergency certificate form (supplied by Winchester Utilities) must be completed by a licensed Physician or Nurse Practitioner stating a well-defined illness and the medical necessity. The completed form must be returned to Winchester Utilities. This certificate must be updated annually. 

 

 

Q: Will I get my money back on the deposit?

A: When services are terminated, a FINAL bill will be generated. If the account is paid in full thru the final bill, the deposits will be refunded. If there is unpaid balance on the account, the deposits will be applied to that balance. If the deposits exceed the unpaid bill amount, you will be issued a refund. You are responsible for paying any remaining unpaid balance.

 

Q: What options do I have to pay my bill?

A: The following are options for paying your Winchester Utilities Bill:

  • Bring your payment into our office.
  • Use our convenient drive-thru.
  • Mail your payment.
  • Visit any of these local banks than can take your payment: Regions Bank, and Citizens Community Bank.
  • Drop off at our night deposit located at the drive-thru.
  • Fill out a bank draft authorization form.
  • Pay online with credit/debit card. Click here to pay your bill online
    • Credit cards accepted:  Visa, Discover, and Mastercard
    • We do not accept American Express
  • Pay thru your bank's online bill payment system

                        **Online card payments are limited to $5000 or less.  

Q: How do I determine my utility account number?

A: The account number is found in the upper left hand portion of your utility statement. It has a format similar to 999999-999999 (six numbers followed by dash followed by 6 more numbers)

 

Q: How can I setup my account payment thru bank draft?

A:  Bank drafts can only be setup using a bank checking account.

      (We do not draft bank savings accounts, credit or debit cards)

      To begin automatic pay:

  • Print the Automatic Bank Draft Authorization Form
  • Fill out the form
    • General Information Section
    • Financial Institution Name, name on bank account
    • Sign and date the form at the bottom
  • If you wish to receive your bill via email:
    • Print the Customer Information Update form
    • Fill out the top portion and the Email section of the form
    • Return the form to Winchester Utilities along with your Bank Draft form
Choose one of the following methods of getting your information to Winchester Utilities:
  • Bring the signed bank draft form and a blank check to the main office
  • Mail the signed bank draft form and a copy of a blank check to Winchester Utilities
  • Fax the signed bank draft form and a copy of a blank check to Winchester Utilities at 931-962-4214
                     
                   

Q: How do I avoid paying penalty charges on my account?

A: If the net amount due on the account is paid on or before the due date, you will avoid paying penalties.

 

Q: How do I avoid having my services disconnected?

A: If the past due amount on the account is paid within 10 days of the bill due date, you will avoid services being disconnected.

 

Q: Will Winchester Utilities notify me prior to disconnecting my services?

A:  If you have signed up to receive text alerts or have a primary phone number on your account, Winchester Utilities will send a text alert or phone call 3-5 days after the bill due date to remind you of the past due statement and also the day prior to disconnection.  It is the customer's responsibility to make sure there is a valid phone number on the account.

 

If you wish to add a phone number or update a phone number on your account, complete the Customer Information Update Form,  print it and return it to the utility main office.

 

If you wish to agree to text alerts, you can call the main office at (931) 967-2238 and select option 4 and follow the prompts. Instead of calling, you can complete the Customer Information Update Form, print it and return it to the utility main office.

 

**If no phone number is available on the account or you have not agreed to receive text messages, a letter will be sent to the mailing address 3-5 days after the bill due date. This will be the final notification prior to disconnection of services. By adding a phone number to your account or agreeing to receive text messages, you will receive a phone call or text message the day prior to disconnection. 

 

 

Q: If I do not pay my bill by the due date, will my utilities get disconnected?

A: You have up to ten (10) days after the due date to pay the bill. However, you will be charged a penalty for late payment. After the ten (10) day period, the utility services will be disconnected.

 

(Residential disconnections may be postponed due to inclement weather. Weather conditions for Winchester are monitored daily at www.weather.com. If forecasted high is 32 degrees (F) or lower during the day and/or below 20 degrees (F) during the night or a high of 95 degrees (F) or above during the day, the disconnection will be postponed. The postponement will not extend beyond the extreme weather condition.)

 

If you have opted in to receive text alerts or have a phone number on your account, Winchester Utilities will notify you via text or phone the day prior to disconnection.  If you wish to add a phone number or make sure there is a phone number on your account or opt in to receive text alerts, complete the Customer Information Update form and return to Winchester Utilities main office.

 

Q: If my utilities get disconnected for not paying my bill, what do I need to do to get them turned back on?

A: If services are disconnected for non-payment, you will have to come into the office to request a reconnection. Business hours for requesting reconnects are Monday-Friday, 7:00am-4:00pm. The request will be processed and completed within 48 hours of receiving the request.  You will have to pay the following:

  • Past due bill amount
  • Reconnect fee of $80 during normal business hours. Note the reconnect fee is much higher after normal business hours. Refer to the 'Rates & Fees' page for details.

               

Once the service personnel is dispatched to disconnect services, the services will be disconnected unless the customer can show proof of payment or the main office informs the service personnel of payment. The service personnel can not take the payment. Once disconnected, reconnect fees apply in order to be reconnected.

If services are disconnected due to return check, you will have to come into the office to request a reconnection. You must bring cash to pay the following:

  • Amount of the returned check
  • $35 NSF fee
  • $80 reconnect fee
Disconnection due to returned check can only be reconnected during the normal work hours between 7:00AM-3:00 PM on Mon-Fri.

 

Q: What happens if my payment is returned for insufficient funds?

A: If your check is returned to Winchester Utilities for insufficient funds, a customer service representative will attempt to contact you by phone. (if one is available on the account)

Services will be disconnected the morning following the return of the check if the account is past the 10 day grace period.

          (10 day grace period is the 10 days after the statement due date)

 You will owe the check amount plus a $35 NSF fee. Payment must be made by cash or credit card.

 

If you are disconnected, reconnection will require the payment of the check amount + $35 NSF fee + $80 reconnect fee.  Payment for check and fees (NSF and reconnect) will require cash.

 

Q: How do I cancel my automatic bank draft payment?

A: You must notify Winchester Utilities in writing to cancel your automatic bank draft payment.

Your options are:

  • Come by our main office and sign a bank draft cancellation form
  • Print a copy of the Bank Draft Cancellation Form, fill it out, sign it, and fax it to Winchester Utilities at 931-962-4214
  • Print a copy of the Bank Draft Cancellation Form, fill it out, sign it, and mail it to Winchester Utilities
  • Email a copy of the completed Bank Draft Cancellation form to Winchester Utilities at customerservice@winchesterutilities.com

Click here for the Bank Draft Cancellation form.

Q: Are Winchester Utility customers paying for the power used by the City Christmas lights?

A: The City of Winchester pays the bill for power used by the Christmas lights as well as the power used by the city street lights within the city limits. Winchester Utilities is part of the city charter and does assist in hanging the lights because of the equipment needed and does so as the equipment is available.

Q: If I am getting assistance to help pay my utility bill, what does Winchester Utilities require from me?

A: If you receive a voucher, ticket, or letter from the organization assisting you, you must bring it to the main office in order to make us aware of the pending assistance. Some organizations fax something to us, but you will need to call and verify that we have received the information. If we are unaware of the pending assistance, you may have utility services disconnected.

 

If you are getting assistance after services have been disconnected, you must pay the reconnect fees up front before services can be turned back on.

Q: Whom do I call if I have a utility problem after office hours?

A: Please call our main office line at 931-967-2238 and an after-hours service will contact the appropriate utility employees right away.

 

Q: Whom do I call if I have questions or concerns about my garbage pickup?

A: Please contact Waste Management for these concerns at (931) 967-2081.

 

Q: Can I receive my bill via email?

A: You have the option of receiving your bill by email. If you are interested in this option, please fill out the top portion and the Email section of the Customer Information Update Form  and return to the Winchester Utilities main office.

 

Q: Do I have to pay the sewer charges if I use water for irrigation, landscaping, or to fill my swimming pool?

A: Yes, unless you have a separate water meter installed just for irrigation use. See the 'Rates & Fees' page for information on an irrigation tap.

 

For swimming pools:

     Swimming pools greater than 7,000 gallons may qualify for a sewer adjustment. Customer must notify Customer Service in advance and provide pool dimensions. Total sewer charges must be at least $100 for the month that the pool was filled in order to qualify for the adjustment. After billing, $75.00 will be credited towards the sewer charges. Only one swimming pool adjustment in a 12 month period.

Q: I have a higher than normal water bill from a water leak and I have fixed the leak. May I get an adjustment to my bill?

A: Yes, you may qualify for an adjustment if you meet the following criteria:

  • If the leak causes a water bill that is greater than $50.00 normal usage as compared to the previous years' same month water usage, then you may qualify for an adjustment.

An adjustment can be made only one time in a 12 month rolling period and will cover only two consecutive bills.

 

Instructions for requesting adjustments:

  • Customer must come into the main office and request an adjustment
  • Customer must provide a copy of the bill for the leak repair or a receipt of the parts used to make the repairs (if made by the customer)
  • Once the Customer Service Representative determines if qualified for an adjustment, they will calculate the adjustment and the customer must sign the form. The adjustment will be made to the bill.

Q: A water leak notice was left at my residence by the meter reader. What does it mean?

A: As a courtesy to our customers, Winchester Utilities attempts to monitor water usage in the hopes of preventing any major issues, such as major water leaks that affect our customers. As the meter reader is reading the water meter, he compares the current usage with the previous month usage. If he notices a much higher consumption, he will leave a leak notice. The leak notice will be dated and contains some information concerning leaks. The meter reader may also write a handwritten note at the top of the notice saying 'Meter slowly turning'. This means that he noticed the meter was turning at the time he read it.

If you are aware of increased water usage during this period, just ignore the notice.

 

Q: I received a letter from Winchester Utilities saying I have high water usage. What does it mean?

A: As a courtesy to our customers, Winchester Utilities will review water usage following each read cycle to determine if there is any water consumption that is considerably above normal. If we notice an unusually high consumption and a notice has not already been left at your residence, we will send a notice letter to you by mail. If you are aware of the increased usage, just ignore the letter.

 

Q: What is Project Help?

A: Project Help is a program designed to assist with utility bills for those in need, such as the elderly or disabled. Winchester Utilities offers customers the ability to add a set amount to their monthly utility bill that will go to the Project Help Program. Winchester Utilities collects and forwards the funds to the agency that handles the requests for and the distribution of these funds.

 

If you are interested in participating, you must fill out the form and return to Winchester Utilities.

                                   Click here for the Project Help form

 

 

FAQs were updated on May 25, 2017