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Watch this tutorial for clarification about your rates, the estimation process, the true-up method and your water usage.
Holland Board of Public Works welcomes all of our new Park Township water customers. As a utility serving the Holland area, we are committed to delivering the same excellence in reliability and quality to you. Your water will continue to be supplied by the Holland BPW water treatment plant, but you will experience changes and new benefits as a direct retail customer. We are honored to serve you and hope to earn your trust. We appreciate being your service provider.
In June, if you are in our new service territory, you received a welcome packet from Holland Board of Public Works. This packet details the process of our transition to direct retail water service for Park Township. The packet also includes helpful information about your Holland BPW account.
- Updating meters - Your water meter will be updated to a newer meter that will read in cubic feet rather than gallons.
- Billing frequency - Holland BPW bills monthly, rather than quarterly.
- Estimating meter reads - As we transition your account to the Holland BPW system and monthly billing, we will temporarily estimate monthly water usage in between actual meter reads that will take place every three months. HBPW will reconcile usage volume every three months with the physical meter reads. This process will take place until your meter is updated.
- Meter change outs - When we update your water meter, you might reconsider the size you have. If so, consult with an irrigation contractor.
- Understanding your bill
- Payment options
- MyHBPW Portal
- Customer Service
- Water Quality Report
- HBPW Annual Report
A letter from Park Township
As of July 1st, 2020, Park Township has entered into a water utility agreement with Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) to manage billing, service and maintenance for water customers in about half of the township. While we communicated this transition late in the Spring, it has come to our attention that there remains some confusion around the timing of this transition and an increase in water rates, which are not related events... [Read More]
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out.
Call: (616) 355 -1500.
Our phone line is open:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 7:30am-5:00pm
- Wednesday - 9:00am-5:00pm
You are welcome to contact the water department directly. However, if you have an emergency, please contact Customer Service for immediate service.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who will be affected by this agreement?
Roughly half of Park Township water ratepayers (about 4,000 meters) will be affected by this change. Customers who reside in the green area shown on the map, labeled New HBPW Retail Service Area, will be changed from Park Township retail service to HBPW retail service on July 1, 2020.
- Ratepayers who reside south of Lake Macatawa, labeled South Side, are already covered by a full retail contract with HBPW, which will be added into this new agreement with no impact on rates or service. This area is shown in yellow on the map.
- Ratepayers in the “Consolidated System” region (who are currently billed by Holland Charter Township) will continue with billing and maintenance through Holland Charter Township. This area is shown in red on the map.
Why have my water bills been higher than usual, especially the first one?
At the end of 2019, Park Township passed an important, corrective increase in water rates (we answer why in a later FAQ) that averaged about 50% for affected customers. During peak use in the summer months of July, August and September, the impact of the rates increase is even higher, while in winter months, the impact is less noticeable. This was the first summer that Park Township customers experienced with the new rates in place.
Unrelated to the rate increase, Park Township has also transitioned management of billing and service for a portion of water customers to Holland BPW (HBPW). When bringing on new customers, HBPW needed to catch up customers to a mid-month billing cycle, so customers saw their first monthly bill accounted for 45 days of usage from July 1 to August 15. Coupled with the rate increase, this increased the size of the first bill to an abnormally high amount. However, bills for August 15 - September 15 returned to the standard cycle, and going forward, customers will only see bills for a standard month’s worth of usage.
Is HBPW responsible for the increase in my water rates?
No, the rate increases were approved by Park Township in October 2019 and went into effect on Jan 1, 2020. These increases were in response to a township water asset management study, which revealed the previous rate structure was not sustainable to fund long term needs for repair and replacement. The corrective rate increase was necessary regardless of a retail agreement with HBPW.
Does HBPW have different rates than the higher ones Park Township approved last year?
HBPW’s rates are about the same, and in many cases, a bit lower depending on the meter. HBPW bills have greater detail than Park Township’s previous bills, and they are also billed in cubic feet instead of gallons.
How will this affect billing & meters?
- Customers who currently receive bills from Park Township quarterly will begin receiving bills from HPBW on a monthly basis instead.
- In the following 18-24 months, HBPW will replace existing meters with new meters that read in cubic feet rather than gallons. Meter changes will come at no cost to customers.
- Holland BPW bills in CCF (hundred cubic feet), versus 1,000 gallons. One CCF is equal to 748 gallons. For example, if your are used to seeing 15 thousand gallon units, this is equivalent to 20 CCF.
Why are we with HBPW now?
Park Township has partnered with Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) in a water utility agreement to maintain and service about 4,000 township water customers. As of July 1, 2020 HBPW has been handling billing, service and maintenance for customers included in the agreement.
Park Township does not have a dedicated water utility or staff to manage planning and maintenance of the system. The township already relied on HBPW and Holland Charter Township for maintenance and installs but handled billing and customer service internally. Park Township and HBPW began exploring the possibility of a closer relationship in 2019 to reduce costs, mitigate risk and simplify customer service and billing.
The Park Township Board of Trustees, Holland Board of Public Works and Holland City Council signed off on the retail agreement in April, 2020 after determining the consolidation of services was a good fit and cost-saving measure for the region.
Did my water source change?
No, Park Township customers affected by this change continue to receive their water from Holland Board of Public Works water treatment plant, which draws from Lake Michigan. This did not change.
Why was this a good move?
This regional partnership brings high value to both Park Township customers and HBPW customers. A combined system reduces risk for both service areas and creates a lower and more predictable cost structure for the township.
HBPW has a strong reputation locally and across the country for reliable service, future-focused planning and community investment. In entering a full retail agreement with HBPW, Park Township customers have more convenient billing and payment options, easy-access customer service and greater insight into their usage through an online portal.
How did you communicate about this?
Park Township announced the rate increase in October, 2019 with direct letters to customers explaining why it was necessary. The township also issued a release to the press and the Holland Sentinel covered the story.
Then, in April, 2020 Park Township and HBPW issued a joint release to the press and a direct mail letter to affected customers explaining the transition in billing and water agreement. Holland Board of Public Works also sent new customer packets explaining the new bills, water meter options and FAQs to affected customers in May and June.
Park Township and HBPW have maintained a high level of transparency in customer communications throughout this process.
How will this affect billing and meters?
While Park Township used to bill quarterly, HBPW bills monthly on a billing cycle that ends at the 15th of each month.
Customers who paid Park Township using automatic bank drafts (ACH payments) have received instructions from HBPW on how to set up that payment process. ACH payments did not transfer automatically.
Customers who already received a bill for electricity from HBPW did not need to take any action as their water usage now appears with their monthly HBPW utility bill.
Why are some bills estimated?
Park Township water customers have older meters that require physical reads, which used to take place quarterly. Because HBPW sends out bills monthly instead of quarterly, the usage amounts are estimates based on what customers used during the same period last year. At the end of each quarter, we will take a physical read to reconcile the estimates with the actual usage. The water bill at the end of each quarter will reflect the actual reading, and this ensures that billing is 100% accurate over each quarter.
Starting later this year and through June, 2021, HBPW will upgrade existing meters with newer models that can be read monthly, and also read in cubic feet rather than gallons. Meter updates will come at no cost to customers.
What's involved in a meter change?
There are about 4,000 meters included in this agreement, so a HBPW meter replacement contractor will be conducting the upgrades over several months. When your neighborhood is scheduled, you will receive a scheduling letter with instructions on how to schedule your appointment online or via telephone.
Meter upgrades typically take about an hour and involve minor plumbing work inside and outside the home. Trained, professional HBPW staff and contractors will carry out the work, ensuring the meter is installed safely and correctly.
Due to health concerns with coronavirus, HBPW crews are carefully complying with social distancing and PPE requirements as set forward by the State of Michigan and CDC at all times. If you have concerns about an HBPW service technician entering your home, please wait until the scheduling process and work with customer care at that time to either delay or find a safe time to complete the work.
HBPW service technicians will never show up unexpectedly at your home.
What Park Township customers are affected by this?
Roughly half of Park Township water customers (about 4,000 meters) are affected by this change. Using the Park Township Water Systems Map as a reference point, these customers are those who reside in the green shaded area.
Customers south of Lake Macatawa are already covered by a full retail contract with HBPW, which is being added into this new agreement with no impact on rates or service. Customers in the “Consolidated System” region (customers who are currently billed by Holland Charter Township) will continue with billing and maintenance through Holland Charter Township.
How has this affected frontage and trunkage fees?
For developers and home-owners seeking new connections, Park Township will continue to manage the administration of frontage and trunkage fees.
How has this affected sanitary sewer billing?
There has been no effect on sanitary sewer billing. Park Township, Holland Charter Township and HBPW are exploring efficiencies in consolidating sewer billing for the affected area in the future. The agreement did not affect sewer rates.
What if I want to change my meter size?
In the switchover to upgraded meters, customers will automatically be fitted with a meter that matches their current size. If customers would like to reduce their meter size to lower their bill (e.g. reducing a 1” meter to ⅝”), we recommend evaluating your irrigation system flow requirements to ensure a smaller meter can support the required volume. There is no charge to reduce the size of the meter at the time of upgrade.
Customers may also use this switchover as an opportunity to install a larger meter (e.g. changing from a ⅝” or ¾” meter to a 1” meter). Charges for increasing the meter size include additional meter fees and costs for required plumbing changes.
What is MyHBPW and how do I register?
MyHBPW is Holland BPW's online customer portal. From here, you can view and pay your bill. You can also manage account settings for billing and notifications. Within MyHBPW, access valuable information about your account, plus learn about money-saving programs and conservation tips. If you are not currently a Holland BPW customer, you will be encouraged to register for MyHBPW once you receive your first bill.
Learn how to register: https://hollandbpw.com/en/customer-service/help#portal
Is this why Park Township recently raised water rates?
No, Park Township took action in October 2019 for a rate increase for usage beginning January 1, 2020. This was in response to a water asset management study, which revealed the previous rate structure was not sustainable to meet long term needs for repair and replacement. The rate increase was necessary regardless of a retail agreement with HBPW.