Winter Weather: Bills and Water Meters

Estimated Bills

During the winter months, snow and ice may make it difficult for WSSC crews to safely travel, walk or read meters. Due to plowing or icing, outside meter housings may be covered with ice/snow long after the roads are cleared. Inside water meters and remote readers located on outside walls of buildings may also present reading problems due to ice or snow covered walkways and yards.

  • When WSSC cannot obtain an actual reading, the consumption for that billing period is usually estimated based on the prior year's comparable usage. Estimated readings are also necessary because route assignments and staffing limitations prohibit WSSC from reading these meters until the next regularly scheduled reading date.
  • Note the number of days in the Billing Period. During estimated billing, it will likely be longer than 90 days which is the length of a typical billing cycle.
  • The charges following an estimated bill are recalculated based on the usage from the last actual bill (prior to the estimated bill) to the current actual bill based on the quantity of water that passed through the meter during this period. Please pay your estimated bill. This payment received for the estimated bill is credited to the account and subtracted from the total amount due. Once the actual reading is obtained, the customer is charged only for the water that was actually used during this extended billing period.
  • Customers who have an inside meter are encouraged to report their meter reading to WSSC at 301-206-4001. 

Water Meters

Water meters located inside or outside homes and buildings may freeze when temperatures drop below freezing.

  • Inside Water Meter: When a meter is inside a basement, cellar or building, the property owner is responsible for protecting the meter from damage due to freezing and physical abuse. The repair and replacement of damaged/frozen meters are at the property owner's expense. Charges for replacement depends on the meter size and type, and the fee is billed on the regular water bill.
  • Outside Water Meters: A frozen outside meter is WSSC's responsibility. The customer is not charged for repairs or replacement.
  • If a meter leak results in a water loss of 1,000 or more, charges on the subsequent bill may be reduced.


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