Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Natural Gas Safety - Leak Recognition and Response

 Gas leaks can be detected through sight, sound or smell. Leave immediately and call our crews for help. Your safety is our number one priority.

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/JsSi3hzfAGM 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Department of Public Utilities Recognized by National Association of Clean Water Agencies for Continued Operational Excellence

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) presented the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities with one of this year’s NACWA Peak Performance Awards. This annual award is presented to honorees who have achieved excellence in operational performance and permit compliance.

Adam Krantz, chief executive officer of NACWA, congratulated this year’s honorees, noting:

“Our public utility members are the backbone of the communities they serve, providing safe, reliable access to clean water services day-in and day-out. The Peak Performance Award ceremony is our chance to shine a national spotlight on those outstanding clean water utilities that have demonstrated operational excellence with no more than five permit violations in a calendar year, and, for our Gold and Platinum Award winners, zero violations.

"These utilities represent the top performers in the whole country and go above and beyond in their mission to protect public health and the environment. On behalf of NACWA’s Board of Directors, I extend my congratulations and gratitude to all this year’s award winners and I thank them for their service and their incredible compliance with increasingly rigid Clean Water Act standards. This year has seen unprecedented challenges in the wake of the pandemic, and the Peak Performance Award winners have more than risen to the occasion.”

DPU Director Calvin D. Farr, Jr., said:

“The Department of Public Utilities is proud to be honored by NACWA and recognized for the work that we perform each day to ensure that the residents of the Richmond area have a safe and clean water supply. DPU places a high priority on public health and protecting our valued resource, the James River.”


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Gas Pipelines from the Meter to Your House Are Your Responsibility

As a safety measure, the Federal Office of Pipeline Safety (Federal Regulation 49 CFR 192.16) requires Richmond Gas Works as a natural gas operator to notify its customers of the need to maintain their underground or buried natural gas piping.

Any and all gas piping downstream (on the structure/house side) of the gas meter belongs to the customer, who is responsible for the maintenance and operation of this portion of the natural gas line.

Richmond Gas Works does not own this portion of the natural gas line; therefore, we do not routinely maintain or locate these private gas lines. Licensed commercial plumbers and heating contractors may be contacted for assistance in locating, inspecting, repairing, and maintaining these private gas lines. This underground gas piping should be:

• Periodically inspected for leaks

• Periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic

• Repaired if any unsafe condition is discovered, or the flow of gas should be shut off

Also, please remember that these privately-owned gas lines should be marked by your contractor or plumber before any digging or excavation is done in the area. If the work will be close to the underground gas line, we suggest that the digging is done carefully and by hand. If you have any questions or comments regarding this, please call (804) 646-4646.

Como una medida de seguridad, la Oficina Federal de Seguridad de Tubería (Reg. Fed 49 FCR 192.16) requiere Richmond Gas Works, como operador de gas, notifique a sus clientes la necesidad de examiner o dar mantenimiento a sus tuberías subterráneas o enterradas.

Todas las tuberías de gas que salen del contador (en el lado de la casa o estructura) son propiedad del cliente, quien es responsable del mantenimiento y operación de esta porción de la línea del gas natural.

Richmond Gas Works no es propietario de esta porción de la línea del gas natural; por lo tanto no hace ni mantenimiento periódico ni localización de estas líneas de gas privadas. Para ello pueden contactar plomeros comerciales con licencia y contratistas para calefacción que puedan hacer a localización, la inspección, la reparación o el mantenimiento de estas líneas de gas privadas. Las tuberías subterráneas deben ser rutinariamente:

• Inspeccionadas periódicamente por si hay salideros
• Inspeccionadas periódicamente por si hay corrosión cuando la tubería es metálica
• Reparadas si se descubre cualquier condición peligrosa, o el flujo de gas debe ser cortado.

También, por favor recuerde que estas líneas privadas de gas deben ser marcadas o señalizadas por su contratista o plomero antes de hacer cualquier excavación en el área. Si el trabajo se va a hacer cerca de las tuberías subterráneas, sugerimos que se haga la excavación a mano y con mucho cuidado. Si usted tiene preguntas o comentarios con realción a este AVISO, por favor llámenos al (804) 646-4646.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Department of Public Utilities Continues with Non-Disconnection of Utility Services

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Richmond Gas continues with non-disconnection of utility services and remains committed to the safety of all during COVID-19. Following CDC-recommended guidelines, DPU continues to focus on the health and protection of our customers as well as that of our technicians. DPU’s services have expanded beyond emergencies, new consumer connections and restoration of water and gas services. We are providing additional support for billing inquiries and other account concerns. Please reference the important details below to avoid high call volumes during peak periods and better understand how we can assist during these challenging and uncertain times. 

We thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you and appreciate your continued patience as we respond to the evolving impacts of COVID-19. Our Customer Care Call Center message (804-646-4646) reflects our current status and we invite you to visit our website www.rva.gov/public-utilities for general account information.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    I have a natural gas emergency. What should I do?

If you have an emergency related to gas, or a gas leak, please leave the area immediately and go to where the odor of gas is no longer present and call 911.


2.    I have a non-natural gas related utility emergency. What should I do?

If you have an emergency related to water, sewer or carbon monoxide, please call 646-4646 and select Option 1 IMMEDIATELY.


3.    I don’t have a utility emergency. Can I still speak to a representative about my account?

To avoid long wait times, we encourage customers to visit www.rva.gov/public-utilities for account information or email dpucustserv@richmondgov.com with a detailed account inquiry. Please allow up to three (3) business days for us to research your inquiry and provide a written response. The phone lines at (804) 646-4646 are open, however high call volume is expected.


4.    Should I dial 311 if I’m unable to reach your office?

No. The 311 Citizen Service and Response Call Center is unable to respond to DPU billing, payment, connection and disconnection requests. However, you may report stormwater, sewer and streetlight issues by calling 3-1-1 or using www.rva311.com.


5.    How can I pay my bill?

Due to social distancing guidelines, we encourage customers to use one of the options listed below.

  • One-time payment: CLICK HERE TO PAY WITH KUBRA EZ-PAY. Have your account number and zip code available.
  • Self-Service: Call (804) 646-4646 and follow the prompts.
  • Check or money order: Mail your payment using the enclosed envelope with your bill.
  • OUR MAILING ADDRESS HAS CHANGED! To ensure timely receipt and proper credit of your utility payments, please update your records. This includes automatic bill payment services and personally addressed payments. New address: City of Richmond Utilities, PO Box 71210, Charlotte, NC 28272-1210
  • City Hall Dropbox: Located on the 10th Street side. Please do not deposit cash. Checks and money orders only.
  • In person: Visit our payment center at City Hall (900 E. Broad Street).
  • Please note that in support of continued social distancing guidelines, visitors are required to sign in at the guard’s desk and wear a mask or face covering while conducting business at this location. You must enter the building on the 9th Street side.   

6.    Is my utility payment still due during COVID-19?

Yes. DPU is continuing to bill for regular monthly usage. We encourage all customers that are able, to continue to make utility payments as bills are received. However, we are offering flexible payment terms of up to 12 months, regardless of your balance, upon request. Based upon your payment history the normally required down payment can be waived. Please note that payment term amounts must be paid in full each month along with your current monthly charges. See #11 for additional resources. Call us today at (804) 646-4646 to discuss your options.

7.    Will my services be disconnected if I am unable to pay my bill on the due date?

No. Public health and safety remains a priority and DPU remains committed to helping our customers through this time. However, we strongly encourage delinquent customers to take action now to avoid future interruption of utility services.  If you have specific questions, call us at (804) 646-4646. Agents are standing by to assist Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.


8.    What company do you use for collections? How can I reach them?

Ballato Law Firm handles collections for DPU. Their agents are available Monday through Friday 8 am – 5 pm to address your account needs. You can dial them directly at (804) 433-1060 or visit their website www.ballatolaw.com to send an email or submit a payment using a credit or debit card.


9.    My services were restored because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Will I lose my service immediately after COVID-19?

If your services were restored due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly encourage you to contact us promptly at (804) 646-4646 to participate in our payment plan programs. Agents are standing by to assist you.

10.  What type of notification will I receive prior to disconnection after COVID-19?

At the end of the state of emergency for COVID-19, DPU will resume normal collection activity. If your services are scheduled for disconnection, you will be notified through your monthly bill. To avoid interruption, we encourage you to contact us to establish payment terms.


11.  What resources are available to assist customers experiencing financial difficulties?

We understand the continued financial uncertainty of customers during this time and are working to assist customers through post-pandemic impacts. We continue to encourage customers to explore the following assistance programs:

    • MetroCare Water Program – This water bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having difficulty paying their primary water bills due to financial concerns. There is an application process and ratepayers can receive up to $500 per applicant if approved. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.   

    • MetroCare Heat Program This heating bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having trouble paying their primary heating bills due to a financial difficulty or other special hardship. The program period began Dec. 15. Residents within Richmond Gas Works' service territory may apply for funds through MetroCare. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.       

    • SeniorCare Program – This program caters to the unique needs of seniors 65 years of age and older in the Richmond metropolitan community. Senior customers can sign up for this program and take advantage of Winter Service Assurance, no late fees, security deposit waiver program, annual weatherization kit giveaways and third party notification. For more information, call (804) 646-4646. 

o   Universal Payment Arrangement – This program assists customers with managing their finances through the COVID-19 pandemic and proactively creates payment terms for residential customers more than 90 days in arrears with the exclusion of ELDERLY coded accounts and accounts currently on a BUDGET plan.  The mass creation of the universal payment arrangement, began on June 1, 2020 and allows customers to pay the arrears in 6 or 12 monthly installments plus current charges as billed. Eligible customers are notified via their monthly bill.


12.  For recordkeeping purposes, I submitted my payment with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, with a request for a copy of the receipt to be returned. When can I expect to receive the receipt?

Your next bill will show payments applied against balance owed. If you have additional questions, feel free to follow up via email at dpucustserv@richmondgov.com or call (804) 646-4646.  Please take this time to update your records as our mailing address has changed:  New address: City of Richmond Utilities, PO Box 71210, Charlotte, NC 28272-1210


13.  I am moving to a new location and need a final bill. What should I do?
Please email your details to dpucustserv@richmondgov.com. The billing department will work to ensure that your final meter reading (from the move-out location) along with your start meter reading (for the move-in location) is processed for billing purposes. Please allow up to one billing cycle for your account to be finalized or adjusted as needed.

14.  My account was billing on actual meter readings prior to the City closing. I am now receiving a bill based on estimated usage. Why is this happening? 

When an actual meter read is not available for billing purposes, DPU will estimate the account based on historical usage. We will diligently work to resolve any account issues. If you have a question or concern, please email us at dpucustserv@richmondgov.com with your detailed request.

15.  I have an escalated account issue requiring immediate attention. How can I reach someone?

If you need to speak with someone regarding an escalated issue, please send us an email at dpucustserv@richmondgov.com. Please provide a brief description of your request and indicate that you would like to speak with a supervisor. Please allow up to two (2) business days for a supervisor to contact you.


16.  Why can’t DPU provide free water to its residents? 

As this pandemic emphasizes, clean and safe water is one of the most valuable resources in the protection of public health and safety. It is also one often taken for granted. The City’s sole source of drinking water is the James River. Water has to be pulled from the river and then treated, stored, distributed, and routed to homes and businesses. This is no small feat and requires a significant amount of capital and human resources, not to mention the added burden an aging infrastructure places on a utility. Rates paid by consumers help to ensure the water you receive at the tap is clean and safe and there when you need it.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Natural Gas Safety Awareness Program - Damage Awareness and Prevention

Before you let a single shovel hit the dirt, if you’re doing any digging at all, watch this short video so you can keep yourself -- and everyone around you -- safe when you dig.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Natural Gas Safety Awareness Program

You can enjoy a warm home, a relaxing hot shower and a meal cooked perfectly with natural gas because we are working 24/7 to keep you safe by monitoring our pipelines every day and every night.