Things You Need to Know

  • Consumers must contest the bill in WRITING within 20-calendar days from the bill issued date.
    • The bill must identify when a consumer must challenge the bill.
    • If the consumer does not challenge the bill within 20-calendar days, the consumer surrenders the right to challenge the bill.
    • If a consumer contacts DC Water in any manner other than in writing, DC Water representatives shall inform the customer of the requirement that a challenge to a residential customer's bill must be made in writing and received within 20 calendar days of the bill issued date.
    • If a customer's challenge to a bill is timely or within the 20 days allowed, DC Water shall suspend the customer's obligation to pay the disputed bill until the customer has received the result of the DC Water investigation of the challenge in writing.
  • BEWARE: Actual vs. Estimated Billing
  • Actual: DC Water bills a consumer based on an accurate read from the installed water meter measuring the actual water usage.
  • Estimated: DC Water bills consumer based on a rough calculation of usage when accurate meter read is unavailable DC Water is required to read the customer’s meter at least every four months.
  • If DC Water, cannot read a consumer’s meter, they will continue to estimate the bill.
  • A customer may also submit photographic evidence of current meter reading to obtain an invoice based on an actual meter reading.
  • DC Water may be unable to collect an accurate meter read if at any time, a meter, data collection device, or transmitter fails to register correctly as a result of tampering.
  • DC Water consumers need to know when they should challenge their bill, understand their bill, and how to maintain service to stay ahead of any potential water-related issues.
  • Consumers should pay their water bill on time and in full payment by the due date.
  • A partial payment is better than not paying the amount owed.
  • Payment assistance and arrangement are available for special circumstances.
  • If a consumer receives a pending disconnection notice from DC Water, please contact OPC’s Water Services Division. A WSD representative will discuss with the consumer how to prevent disconnection by:
  • Making a payment plan.
  • Seeking Utility Payment Assistance.


* During the Public Health Emergency and 15 days thereafter, DC Water cannot disconnect your service.

If you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance, please contact the Office of the People’s Counsel at 202-727-3071 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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