Most Fort Worthians now pay water bills online. Some who missed portal deadline faced shutoffs

dfwnewsa | March 20, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Most Fort Worthians now pay water bills online. Some who missed portal deadline faced shutoffs

Fort Worth’s water department truck was on call to fix a water main break at Dunbar St. in Fort Worth on Aug 14, 2023. (Juan Salinas II | Fort Worth Report)
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Nearly two years after Fort Worth launched its MyH2O online payment portal for water bills, about 60% of water customers have created accounts on the site. 

Fort Worth has about 292,676 active water accounts, though that number fluctuates, said water department spokesperson Sandra Baker. As of March 18, 174,359 customers have created profiles on MyH2O. 

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While the department recommends making the switch, staff can’t require customers to use the portal, Baker said. Some customers prefer to pay in-person, by phone or mail. Others use their bank to make scheduled payments, she said. 

“We will continue to accommodate them,” Baker said. “But, we still encourage them to get on the portal even if it’s just to see their water usage. Being on the portal allows customers to perhaps catch a leak early rather than later, likely the biggest benefit.” 

The department made its final push to move all residential customers to MyH2O last fall. Residents received postcards by mail, water bill messages, direct text messages and phone calls advising them that they had until Dec. 4 to make the switch if they wanted to prevent payment issues or service interruptions. Materials were available in English and Spanish, according to a March 5 staff report to City Council members. 

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How to sign up for the MyH2O portal

Customers must register directly through the MyH2O portal. You will need your account number, billing cycle and route number to register. This information is included on billing statements. If a billing statement is not available, call the city’s Customer Call Center at 817-392-4477 or click here to request a callback from a customer service representative.

As part of the transition, residential customers who had autopay transactions set up with the department were required to reestablish their MyH2O profile and add an email address to the account for security reasons. Before Dec. 4, customers without email addresses could use MyH2O — including autopay — by simply changing their password.

After Dec. 4, about 2,400 residential customers saw their autopayments automatically canceled because the city stopped using the former payment processor. City staff contacted residents by phone, according to the March report, but not all customers acted to create a MyH2O profile or pay through some other method. 

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About 600 customers affected by the autopay cancellation had their water shut off due to nonpayment. Customers received notice by mail and via auto-generated phone calls advising them to contact the water department immediately. The city has waived late and service restoration fees for customers impacted by the process.

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“Staff has worked with those customers to either establish profiles that include an email address or to establish other payment options,” the report reads. 

The water department will continue to market MyH2O through social media, city-sponsored events, open houses and, at times, direct mail, Baker said. 

The benefits of the portal are obvious to those who have signed up, she said. Customers can set alerts when their bill reaches a certain amount or their water usage hits a certain level. The data helps the water department with its planning efforts and determine where it can be more efficient, Baker said. 

She recalled demonstrating the portal to a neighborhood meeting a couple years ago. 

“One attendee allowed us to look up his address. That customer was flabbergasted when he saw four days of high continuous use. He realized it was when the water hose to his pool had been left on,” Baker said, adding: “This is what we want. We want customers to be aware of their water use and to have improved opportunities to engage with us.”

Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. You can reach them at haley.samsel@fortworthreport.org.

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At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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