December 9, 2022

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7 things to know about RPU’s Service Assured program

Dec. 27—A program Rochester Public Utilities has been offering on a volunteer basis will now be automatically added to customers bills, unless they opt out.

The Service Assured program, with a $1.99 monthly cost, provides insurance for underground water pipes from the street to a home’s meter, which are the responsibility of the homeowner if there is a break or needed repair.

Starting in January, all residential customers will be signed up for the service, and the cost will be added to their bills.

Here are a few things to know about the change:

1. Customers can opt out.

For most residential water customers, new coverage under the Service Assured program will start Saturday, with the first fee will be on their February bill.

Customers seeking to opt out of the program can contact RPU or complete an online form at www.rpu.org.

2. Some exclusions exist.

Excluded from coverage are mobile homes, apartments, condominiums and atypical service configurations.

Individual townhomes also are not eligible for the Service Assured program, since common property is owned by an association, rather than a homeowner.

Associations can contact RPU to determine whether they are eligible for coverage.

3. More than 11,000 customers are already paying for the service.

While the majority of RPU’s nearly 41,000 residential water customers are not currently covered by the Service Assured program, 11,000 have signed up since it was first offered.

Those customers are not expected to see a related change in their bills.

4. The program has covered approximately 120 related repairs a year.

Tony Benson, RPU’s communication coordinator, said the city-owned utility has covered approximately 120 related service repairs annually for existing Service Assured customers.

RPU reports the most frequent repairs needed are where lines enter the home, which cost hundreds of dollars. However, the utility also notes service line repairs or replacements outside the home can cost $5,000 or more.

Service Assured covers the cost of securing a contractor for repairs, leaving the homeowner to cover any work needed to repair landscaping.

5. Customers who opt out will need to wait a year to re-enroll.

Anyone choosing to opt out of the program will not be allowed to re-enroll for 12 months.

After a year, a customer can re-enroll, but a pre-approval inspection will be required.

Any pre-existing conditions found during an inspection, such as leaks, improper installation and atypical service configurations, will make a home ineligible for the program until the owner makes needed repairs.

6. Electrical protection can be added for another $1.01 a month.

For some residential customers, optional coverage for electrical service also is available.

While the Service Assured electrical program also costs $1.99 a month, combining the two programs reduces the total cost to $3 a month to cover both services.

RPU customers can contact customer service at 507-280-1500 to see if they qualify for electric coverage.

7. The change is expected to generate $309,000 a year.

Peter Hogan, Rochester Public Utilities’ director of corporate services, has said the change will help homeowners cover unexpected expenses while also generating approximately $309,000 a year for the city-owned utility.

The added revenue is expected to be used to offset future rate increases.

Benson said revenue during the first two years could be lower as the program is expanded and more repairs are covered by RPU.