High Water Bills

leaking pipe under sink

If you have an unusually high Long Beach Utilities bill, you can conduct a water evaluation to see where the problem may be. Please read the sections below to learn about common causes for higher than usual water bills, how to check for water leaks, and how to apply for a water bill adjustment if your increased usage is due to a hidden or underground leak.

If you require further assistance with detecting a possible water leak, please call: (562) 570-5700 for residential/individually metered accounts or (562) 570-2412 for all other accounts, including commercial accounts.

View details about your water use history and set up proactive alerts that can help you prevent a high bill in the future by logging into your free WaterSmart customer portal today!

Common Causes for Higher Than Usual Water Bills

An unusually high water bill is most often caused by a leak or change in water use. Some common causes for a water bill being higher than usual include:

  • A running toilet; a leaky toilet can waste up to 180 gallons of water per hour
  • A dripping faucet; a faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water a day or more
  • Filling or topping off a swimming pool or hot tub
  • Watering the lawn, new grass, or trees; also check for open hose spigots
  • Humidifiers attached to the furnace that are improperly adjusted or not working correctly
  • Sump pumps that have water powered backup
  • Kids home for summer vacations or school holidays; guests
  • Water‐cooled air conditioners
  • A broken water pipe or obvious leak; check pipes; the water heater could also be leaking
  • Water softener problems – cycles continuously
  • Running the water to avoid freezing water pipes during cold weather

If you receive an unusually high bill, check over the common causes listed above. Doing this may help to pinpoint the source of the high bill. If you find none of the causes above to be true, it is recommended that you check for leaks. Click here to learn how to check for leaks.

How to Check for Water Leaks

Leaks, whether unseen or unfixed, can waste hundreds and even thousands of gallons of water. It is important to routinely check your plumbing and home for leaky faucets, toilets, and outside taps and irrigation lines. Make sure that water is not slipping away due to undetected leaks in your plumbing.

Visit lbwater.watersmart.com for tips and videos on how to check for water leaks. Here, you’ll also be able to view details about your water history and to learn how to set up proactive alerts to prevent a high bill in the future, log into your free WaterSmart customer portal today!

Residential/Individually Metered Accounts

To check for household leaks, turn off the water inside and outside your home. To locate a leak, try:

  • Checking your water meter. To do this, you’ll first have to turn off all the water in your home. Next, watch the meter and see if it begins to change. If there is a change, you likely have a fast-moving leak. If the meter does not change immediately, wait two hours and check it again. If it has changed, you may have a slower leak.
  • Looking for puddles on your lawn that could indicate a leak in the pipe between the meter and the home or the sprinkler system.
  • Checking your faucets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe.
  • Making sure your showerhead is not leaking where it connects to the pipe stem.
  • Examining your garden hose to make sure it is not leaking where it connects to the spigot.
  • Listening for the sound of running water coming from your toilet. If you hear running water, your toilet has a leak.
  • Checking in the back of cabinets and under basins for any signs of mold or foul smells that might indicate a leak.

If you require further assistance with detecting a possible water leak, please call (562) 570-5700

All Other Accounts Including Commercial Accounts

Try all the suggestions above, including checking any toilet or outlet leaks on the property. If you require further assistance with detecting a possible water leak, please call (562) 570-2412.

High Water Bill Adjustments Due to Hidden or Underground Leaks

Long Beach Utilities has ownership and maintenance responsibilities for the water distribution system up to and including the water meter. The point at which the customer’s private property is connected to the water meter is the location at which responsibility transfers to the customer. The customer or property owner is responsible for ensuring that all water structures on the owner’s property are kept in good repair and free of leaks.

High water bill adjustments are intended to assist customers who have experienced water leaks on their property of which they could not be reasonably aware (hidden or underground), resulting in excessive water loss that led to an increased utility bill. This program will provide a partial bill adjustment for those qualifying customers to provide financial assistance.

Please note: High water bills due to faucet and/or toilet leaks do not qualify for high water bill adjustments. Only 1 high water bill adjustment, per account, is allowed every 3 years.

How to Qualify

Customers applying for a high water bill adjustment must meet all of the following requirements;

  • Submit an application;
  • High usage must be due to an underground or hidden leak;
  • Must be the account holder of the account for which assistance is requested;
  • All relevant repairs are completed prior to submitting this adjustment request;
  • Corrective action by the customer must be taken within 45 days after the “billing date” of the affected bill for which the customer seeks the adjustment;
  • A copy of the proof of repairs made or justification is attached to this application; and,
  • High usage must be at least 2x more than the previous year’s usage.

All applications will be thoroughly reviewed by Long Beach Utilities’ High Bill Adjustments Team. Long Beach Utilities is not responsible for customer costs incurred to detecting or repairing a water leak on the customer’s property. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing. You will receive a confirmation or denial of the adjustment request via phone call or email.

Apply Online

Email or mail a hard-copy

Send completed application to:

Email: highwaterbill@lbutilities.org

Long Beach Utilities
ATTN: High Water Bill Adjustments
Long Beach Utilities 1800 E Wardlow Rd.
Long Beach, CA 90807

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I schedule an in-person high water bill investigation?

A: To schedule a high water bill investigation, please call: (562) 570-5700 for residential/individually metered accounts or (562)570-2412 for all other accounts, including commercial accounts.

Q: How long do I have to apply for a high water bill adjustment?

A: Customers have 45 days from the “billing date” of the affected bill in order to submit an application. The leak must be repaired or corrected, and proof of repair work must be presented before an application can be processed.

Q: How much of an adjustment can I receive?

A: The bill adjustment will be determined by LBU, based on last year’s usage or comparable usage.

Q: What do you mean only hidden or underground leaks qualify for an adjustment?

A: The leak cannot have occurred due to the property owner’s neglect of the water system. The bill credit will not apply to water loss for leaks that are reasonably detectable by the property owner or occupant. The leak must have been caused by malfunctioning equipment, failed water pipes or some other repairable plumbing issue that was not visible or noticeable through regular required maintenance. Toilet or faucet leaks do not qualify for water bill adjustments in single family homes.

Q: How will I receive the adjustment?

A: LBU will provide a bill credit to the customer’s account; no cash or check refund payments will be made. If the duration of the leak lasted more than one billing cycle, the usage during two billing cycles may be considered when calculating the amount of the adjustment credit.