Late Payment FAQs



We know that many in our community have lost their jobs, businesses, and healthcare coverage in this pandemic. To provide support, we decided in early March to stop disconnecting residential water customers for nonpayment. Three weeks later, Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order suspending disconnects by utilities statewide. That Order expired at midnight on July 29, 2020. 

Our ability to provide safe drinking water to Durham’s residents and visitors is fully funded by revenue from water bills. This is why all customers have continued to receive their monthly bills showing how much water was used and the amount that is owed, including any past due balance. We want our customers to know that cutoffs for nonpayment resumed on September 16. Other regional water utilities are following a similar timeline. If you fell behind on payments while this Executive Order was in effect, support remains available. We have trained staff in Customer Billing Services who are ready to help.

  • You will not face any late fees, interest, or penalties.
  • The Executive Order allows up to six months from July 29 to pay outstanding bills.
  • You may qualify for a grant from our Water Hardship Fund.
  • We are offering customized payment plans.

We don’t want anyone to go without water. For more information about payments, the Water Hardship Fund, or other community resources, please contact us through Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 or select one of the links below.

Disconnection for Non-Payment Charges and Fees:

Q:  What if I’m facing financial hardship and can’t pay my water bill?
A:  The City would like to help you manage this situation before your water service is disconnected. We can work with you to develop a monthly payment plan or provide a list of community resources that may give some financial support. We can also offer assistance to qualified residents who complete an application for the Water Hardship Fund. For more information about these options, or if you have questions, please contact us at 919-560-1200 or visit Durham One Call online.

Q:  What if I need help understanding my water bill?
A:  We can show you a sample water bill with diagrams (pdf) that describe and explain each section of your bill.

Q:  What happens if I don’t or can’t pay my bill and my water is disconnected?
A:  The City charges fees to reestablish service if service was disconnected for non-payment. These charges help to offset the costs of doing the administrative work and site visits needed to enforce bill payment or restore service.  

  • Water/Sewer Service Charge for Disconnection due to delinquency: $50 - this charge will apply whether the water service is physically disconnected or left on as a courtesy by City staff. For sewer only customers, the $50 charge applies unless physical disconnection is required - then the charge is $250.
  • Meter Extraction Fee - $75 - charged to customers with a history of returned checks and unauthorized connection or re-connection of water service. The water meter is removed from the premises.
  • Meter Yoke Extraction Fee - $150 - when a water meter is extracted from a service location and an unauthorized replacement is put in its place, the meter yoke will be removed.
  • Crimping the Water Line - $500 - this amount will be charged to defray the cost of restoring service if the water line is crimped because of unauthorized water use.
  • The $50 penalty fee (water/sewer service charge) will be charged in addition to the other fees listed above.

Q:  Will I have to pay another deposit to start service up again?
A:  An existing customer must pay a deposit to reestablish service if it was discontinued for non-payment or delinquency. The additional amount is a $50 deposit. It's charged for the first disconnection, and every disconnection afterwards, up to a total deposit balance of $200.