FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-70
September 9, 2014
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Department of Environmental Protection Launches new “My DEP” Mobile App
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced the launch of a new app that allows customers to manage their “My DEP Account” on Apple and Android mobile devices. With the new My DEP Account App, DEP’s 836,000 customers can securely view and pay bills online, monitor water consumption, and receive leak notifications and new bill alerts. The My DEP Account mobile app is compatible with iOS 6.0 or later (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) as well as Android 2.3 or later and can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
“By introducing new technology we have provided our customers with real time access to information about their water consumption, saved New Yorkers millions of dollars in leak related charges, and provided a convenient way to pay water bills,” said Commissioner Lloyd. “Downloading the My DEP Account App puts all of those great customer service improvements in the palm of your hand.”
As part of DEP’s commitment to providing the highest quality service while ensuring effective and fair revenue collection, a number of initiatives have been implemented since 2011. These programs include the completion of a network of Automated Meter Reading devices which ensure that bills are based on actual consumption and that allow customers to access data about their water use in near real time, a leak detection system that has already saved customers more than $55 million, the Water Debt Assistance program which helps property owners at risk of foreclosure manage their water and sewer debt, and the replacement of thousands of large meters on industry-recommended cycles.
Earlier this year, DEP also adopted a number of customer service improvements that were approved by the New York City Water Board in May. They include:
- Freezing the minimum charge - DEP set the minimum charge for customers who use less than 100 gallons of water each day at last year’s rate. As a result, roughly 25 percent of single family homes—many of them owned by seniors—saw no water rate increase this year.
- The creation of a low-income assistance program - The City will fund a Home Water Assistance Program to assist low-income homeowners. DEP will partner with the NYC Human Resources Administration, which administers the Federal Home Energy Assistance Program, to identify homeowners who would be eligible to receive an annual credit on their water bills.
- Expanding the leak forgiveness program - Through the Leak Notification Program DEP has saved customers more than $55 million in leak-related charges since 2011. Until recently, leaks on maintainable fixtures, such as toilets and faucets, were not included in DEP’s leak forgiveness program. To encourage a quick response to those leaks, DEP has extended partial forgiveness of leak-related charges to any customer who fixes a leak that resulted in a high bill within 120 days.
- Extending the deadline for customers to file an appeal with the Water Board - Currently, customers have 30 days to file an appeal with the Water Board. DEP has extended that deadline to 60 days.
- Halting the lien sale process for customers with a pending appeal - DEP will exclude any customer from the lien sale list who has a pending appeal on the date the 90-day list is published. The change will ensure customers have a fair shot to appeal a bill they believe is unwarranted.
- Suspending interest for customers with a “catch-up” bill after Automated Meter Reader (AMR) installation - DEP now grants customers who are issued a “catch-up” bill after the installation of AMR 90 days to pay their bill, interest free. The change will reduce unanticipated charges on customers’ bills.
Providing the highest quality service to its customers is one of the goals outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to make DEP the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of 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 almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.