On March 13, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Asheville Water Resources suspended all water account disconnections due to non-payment of City of Asheville combined utility bills. On March 31, the state of North Carolina followed suit with an executive order by Gov. Roy Cooper that also suspended utility disconnections due to the economic situation, such as loss of jobs, posed by the pandemic.
The City was clear that bills would not be forgiven, but rather that customers who fell behind in payments would be offered payment plans to help them catch up on the bill and avoid disconnection.
On July 28, the governor’s executive order regarding suspension of utility disconnections expired. Now the City of Asheville is moving forward with notifying customers who are behind in their payments how to set up payment plans and avoid disconnection.
Asheville utility customers are being notified about payment plans available to them through Feb. 18.
All customers with a delinquent balance occurring on or before Aug. 18 will have their account safeguarded for a six (6) month period. No delinquent fees will be added to the balance owed during this time period. This safeguard will run through Feb. 18, 2021. During this six month period, customers are urged to make regular payments in an affordable amount to avoid disconnection in February 2021. It will be the customer’s responsibility to ensure the entire balance, including any new charges, are paid off in full, in any increments of the customer’s choice, within the six month period.
Setting up payment plans
If you prefer a formal payment plan with set monthly payments, there are two ways to request one:
- Call Customer Service at 828-251-1122. A Customer Service representative will be happy to assist you by setting up the payment plan and making sure you understand the details of your payment plan and payment due dates.
- Visit the Water Resources Operations Center, 200 Bingham Road, for a socially distanced meeting with a Customer Service representative. Beginning Sept. 1, this location will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Please wear a mask.
Formal payment plan guidelines
- Original unpaid charge must have occurred between March 13 and Aug. 18.
- Past due balance will be divided into six equal payments.
- You may pick either the 1st or 15th of each month as your due date.
- The payment plan WILL NOT be reflected on your Combined Utility Statement. The balance forward and total amount due boxes on your Combined Utility Statement will reflect the entire amount due, even though the balance is protected by the payment plan.
- The amount in the current charges box must be paid by the payable on or before date, or your water service will be disconnected until this amount is paid.
As always, City utility customers will be notified well in advance of disconnection, two weeks in advance by mail and a week in advance by phone.
Many ways to pay
- Pay by phone: Have your Combined Utility Statement handy, as you will need your account and customer numbers to ensure your payment is posted to the correct account. Dial 828-251-1122 (press option 1). You can make a payment from your checking or savings account, or with a Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit card, or an e-check. There is no convenience fee for paying over the phone. Find out more at this link.
- Pay online: The City has an online customer self service payment system. Online payment is fast, convenient and easy. Visit our Customer Portal to enroll in e-billing. This helpful online billing FAQ may guide you through the process as well.
- Pay through the mail: Your Combined Utility Statement is mailed in a send and return envelope. Ensure that the City’s address is showing in the window when you mail your payment in. If you lose the envelope, the address is City of Asheville, Customer Services Division, P.O. Box 733, Asheville, NC 28802
- Drop boxes: The City has two payment drop boxes: City-County Plaza, first roundabout when entering the plaza, and City of Asheville Public Works Building, 161 S. Charlotte St.
“During this unprecedented pandemic, the City suspended disconnections to ensure all Asheville water customers had access to clean drinking water and wastewater services,” said Water Resources Director David Melton. “In suspending water disconnections, the City also hoped to ensure that all members of our community were able to practice good hygiene by washing their hands frequently.”
“By allowing customers the flexibility to catch up on their payments during this six-month period, we look forward to helping everyone who has been financially challenged due to the pandemic,” Melton said.