FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13-29
March 14, 2013
Chris Gilbride / Ted Timbers (DEP) (718) 595-6600
Denise Venuti Free (AWR) (856) 309-4690
Department of Environmental Protection and American Water Resources Announce More than 56,000 Homeowners already enrolled for Service Line Protection Program
Optional Program Will Save Rate Payers Millions in Unexpected Cost of Repairs to Residential Water and Sewer Lines
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland and American Water Resources (AWR) President Sharon Cameron today announced that more than 56,000 homeowners in New York City have already signed up for the water and sewer Service Line Protection Program launched in January. Property owners in New York City are responsible for maintaining their water and sewer service lines, which are buried underground and run from a building to the City-owned mains. On average, it costs property owners between $3,000 and $5,000 to repair a water line break and between $10,000 and $15,000 to repair a sewer line break. The Service Line Protection Program will save rate payers millions of dollars in repair charges this year that would have otherwise been paid out of pocket.
“The Service Line Protection program is an affordable way for homeowners to shield themselves from unexpected repair costs and we are encouraged that tens of thousands of New Yorkers have already signed up for the program,” said Commissioner Strickland. “As part of DEP’s strategic plan, Strategy 2011-2014, we made a commitment to provide the best possible service to our ratepayers and since 2011 our customer focused initiatives have collectively saved New Yorkers tens of millions of dollars.”
“Until they experience a service line emergency, many homeowners are unaware that they are responsible for these repairs and that their homeowners’ insurance typically doesn’t cover them either,” said Sharon Cameron, President of American Water Resources. “Our water and sewer Service Line Protection Program is an affordable solution that provides peace-of-mind protection to homeowners by shielding them from the high-priced, unexpected costs of these repairs”
"Far too often, hardworking families have found themselves on the receiving end of thousands of dollars in emergency repair costs to their water and sewer lines. This service line protection program not only gives homeowners peace of mind, but will result in millions of dollars in savings for cash-strapped families," said Councilman James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). "The fact that more than 56,000 households have signed up for the program is proof of the high demand in our city for low-cost and effective protections that reduce the financial burden posed by these unexpected repair costs. I commend DEP for all its good work in implementing this vital program."
“I am pleased to join more than 56,000 New Yorkers in applauding the DEP and Commissioner Carter Strickland for providing ratepayers with an affordable way to cover the unexpected costs of repairing a broken water or sewer main,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens). “From the very beginning, I knew this program would be a big success because of the potential to save homeowners thousands of dollars over the long-term.”
“I don't believe most of my constituents have $5,000 or $10,000 burning a hole in their pockets and available to pay for a service line break,” said Councilman James Oddo. “I know I don't, and that is why I personally registered in this common sense plan.”
"When a water or sewer line breaks, the cost to a homeowner can be staggering,” said Councilman James Vacca. “This program protects the property owner should that ever happen. It’s a great opportunity for residents to protect themselves from spending thousands of dollars when the unforeseen happens to them."
"I'm excited to see so many homeowners enrolling in the service line protection program,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin. “I want to thank Commissioner Carter Strickland and American Water Resources President Sharon Cameron for their great work to help homeowners save money and obtain the protection they need."
“I commend the Department of Environmental Protection on this successful program, which over 56,000 New York property owners have already joined, said Councilmember Letitia James. “Many property owners are not aware of the astronomical fees associated with water and sewage repairs. Affordable protection is deeply needed to keep property owners out of debt and in their homes.”
“The DEP’s Service Line Protection Program can provide homeowners with worry free protection, with a minimal monthly fee, potentially saving the homeowners thousands of dollars,” said Councilman Michael Nelson.
In 2012, DEP responded to more than 3,000 reported leaks, of which 77 percent were discovered to be private service line problems. To help property owners better manage these risks and the high costs of service line breaks, the New York City Water Board issued a Request for Proposals from qualified providers for a Service Line Protection Program in 2012. After a thorough review, AWR was awarded a contract to administer the Service Line Protection Program for roughly 670,000 eligible properties in New York City.
Water customers may participate in the Service Line Protection Program at a present rate of $3.99 per month for water line protection and $7.99 per month for sewer line protection. Beginning July 1, the rate will be $4.49 per month, plus tax to protect the water line and $7.99, plus tax for the sewer line. For future years, the New York City Water Board will approve annual rates for the Service Line Protection Program at the same time it adopts DEP water and sewer service charges. Customers who choose to join the program may elect to protect both their water and sewer lines, or one or the other. They may also discontinue their involvement with the programs at any time if they no longer wish to participate. Further information about the programs is available online at www.AWRUSA.com/NYC or by calling 1-888-300-3570.
The Service Line Protection Program provides unlimited protection for covered repairs and basic restoration of the affected property. They also provide for an unlimited number of claims, 24/7 customer service, and quick response time by NYC licensed master plumbers who are pre-qualified to perform needed repairs. For the convenience of those who choose to participate, there are no claim forms to submit and no deductibles, and the protection programs fee will be itemized and included on each participating customer’s regular DEP water and sewer bill.
At no cost to the City and at an affordable cost to the customer, AWR fully manages the Protection Program – from educating homeowners about their responsibility to maintain their water and sewer service lines, to establishing a network of local, independent contractors and providing 24-hour customer service. AWR’s network of local independent contractors is comprised of NYC licensed master plumbers, who will be on-call to respond to the service line issues of participating customers.
In addition to managing the Service Line Protection program for New York City, AWR also provides Water Line Protection, Sewer Line Protection, and In-Home Plumbing Emergency Programs to homeowners in 34 states, and AWR currently services more than one million contracts. A subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, AWR has been providing service line programs to homeowners for more than ten years and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Establishing a Service Line Protection Program is a key component of DEP’s Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to help make it the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation. DEP is the largest municipally owned water and wastewater utility in the United States.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 in the upstate watershed. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.