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          Front Page




ABQ Revises Utilities Statement for the First Time in 3 Decades

By Dan McKay
Journal Staff Writer
    Albuquerque water bills have a new look this month, for the first time in almost 30 years.
    The city-county Water Utility Authority changed its billing system over the Fourth of July weekend. The format for the monthly bills for water, sewer and trash pickup is intended to be easier to read.
    The water rates, however, aren't changing.
    Mark Sanchez, executive director of the water authority, said the new bills should make customer service less paper-intensive, in part, by attracting customers to the Web site. "More people can begin using the system to monitor their own usage and pay bills online," Sanchez said.
    The back of the bill will show the bar charts that allow residents to compare their water use with how much they used previously and with the average, Sanchez said.
    The payment coupon that used to be at the top of the bill is now at the bottom.
    The top of the bill has a summary of how much is owed on the water account. Below that is a breakdown of how much of the bill is for water, for sewer and for garbage pickup.
    These sections include lines telling the customer what part of the bill is a "fixed charge," meaning it is the same each month; how much of the bill is based on the amount of water used, called the commodity charge; and how much is taxes or other fees.
    To pay your bill online or get more information, visit www.cabq.gov/onlinesvcs and click on the link for water/utility bill payment.
    There is room on the bill for messages from the city and county. The water authority is overseen by a joint panel of city councilors, county commissioners and the mayor.
    The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County water utility handles about 160,000 accounts. It supplies about 482,000 people and pumped about 33 billion gallons of water last year.