FAQS - DPU's Road to Recovery
The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has been pleased to continue helping protect the health and safety of Richmond residents by providing clean and safe drinking water, among other utility services during this time. The pandemic has presented tremendous challenges for us all and we continue with non-disconnection of utility services at this time. DPU and Richmond Gas Works remains focused on the health and protection of our customers as well as that of our technicians, while also moving towards recovery. To this end, and with the expiration of the state of emergency, DPU is taking action to forge ahead as explained below. To avoid financial hardship, customers are encouraged to contact us to learn more about payment assistance including payment plan options. To avoid long wait times, please visit our website at for up to date information on all services. We thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you.
- What actions are being taken by DPU on November 1?
On November 1, DPU is reinstating late fees and resuming collection activity on all past due utility accounts.
- Why is DPU taking this action?
On June 30, Virginia's COVID-19 State of Emergency ended and on August 29, the statewide utility disconnection moratorium was lifted. The reinstatement of late fees helps to ensure the continued safe and reliable delivery of all services.
- How can I avoid late fees and collection activity?
To avoid late fees and collection activity, customers that are past due on their utility bill are strongly encouraged to enroll in a payment plan. Once a payment plan is established, late fees and collection activity will cease. However, it is important to make the agreed upon payments as failure to do so will result in cancellation of the payment plan.
- How do I enroll in a payment plan?
To enroll in a payment plan, call us at (804) 646-4646. Agents are standing by to assist Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Please be prepared to make a down payment and have your customer account number along with your last or current bill statement. If you have a bad debt balance that has been transferred to Ballato Law Firm, you will need to contact them for further assistance. See Question 7 for more information.
- Will my services be disconnected if I am unable to pay my bill on the due date?
No. Public health and safety remains a priority and DPU remains committed to helping our customers through this time. However, we strongly encourage delinquent customers to take action now to avoid late fees, collection activity and future interruption of utility services. If you have specific questions, call us at (804) 646-4646. Agents are standing by to assist Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- How can I pay my bill?
Due to the ongoing requirement of social distancing, we encourage customers to use one of the options listed below.
- One-time payment: Have your account number and zip code available.
- Self-Service: Call (804) 646-4646 and follow the prompts.
- Check or money order:
To ensure timely receipt and proper credit of your utility payments, please mail your payment using the enclosed envelope with your bill payment.
F Remittance address: City of Richmond Utilities PO Box 71210 Charlotte, NC 28272-1210
IMPORTANT: Please note that service standard changes by the United States Postal Service that went into effect October 1 are likely to delay receipt and processing of your payment. Customers are encouraged to mail payments earlier or use another convenient payment method to avoid late payments. The City of Richmond is not responsible for lost or delayed payments due to postal delays.
- Dropbox: City Hall Drop (900 E. Broad Street10th Street side) and East District Center (701 N. 25th Street). Please do not deposit cash. Checks and money orders only.
- In person: Visit our payment centers at City Hall (900 E. Broad Street), East District Center (701 N. 25th Street) and Southside Community Service Center (4100 Hull Street).
IMPORTANT: DPU continues to support social distancing guidelines. Please obey all signs upon entering and exiting our payment centers.
- What company do you use for collections? How can I reach them?
Ballato Law Firm handles debt collections for DPU. Once an account is transferred to Ballato Law Firm, the customer must contact Ballato directly for all account matters. Ballato agents are available Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm to address your account needs. You can dial them directly at (804) 433-1060 or visit their website to send an email or submit a payment using a credit or debit card. Collection activityfor utility services rendered prior to March 16, 2020 or for storm water-only service remain in effect. Customers are encouraged to contact Ballato immediately to discuss account concerns and explore payment options.
- My services were restored because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Will I lose my service?
If your services were restored due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly encourage you to contact us promptly at (804) 646-4646 to participate in our payment plan programs. Agents are standing by to assist you.
- What type of notification will I receive prior to disconnection after COVID-19?
If your services are scheduled for disconnection, you will be notified through your monthly bill. To avoid interruption, we encourage you to contact us to establish payment terms. DPU reserves the right to remove the meter and lock the service at any location where tampering or theft of service has been identified.
- What resources are available to assist customers experiencing financial difficulties?
We understand the continued financial uncertainty of customers during this time and are working to assist customers through post-pandemic impacts.
We continue to encourage customers to explore the following assistance programs:
- MetroCare Heat Program – This heating bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having trouble paying their primary heating bills due to a financial difficulty or other special hardship. The program period begins Dec. 15. Residents within Richmond Gas Works' service territory may apply for funds through MetroCare. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.
- MetroCare Water Program – This water bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having difficulty paying their primary water bills due to financial concerns. There is an application process and ratepayers can receive up to $500 per applicant if approved. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.
- MetroCare Water Conservation Program – This program provides financial assistance to eligible customers who are homeowners for plumbing repairs and the replacement of water-inefficient appliances with EPA WaterSense products to conserve water and reduce wasteful consumption. This program includes an audit of all eligible homeowners approved by the Department of Energy as a method for improving water use efficiency.
- SeniorCare Program – This program caters to the unique needs of seniors 65 years of age and older in the Richmond metropolitan community. Senior customers can sign up for this program and take advantage of Winter Service Assurance, no late fees, security deposit waiver program, annual weatherization kit giveaways and third party notification. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.
- Flexible Payment Arrangements – Flexible payment arrangements are available to help customers pay the arrears in 6 or 12 monthly installments plus current charges as billed. If you need assistance with managing your finances, give us a call at (804) 646-4646. DPU Representatives are available to assist.
- Equal Monthly Payment Plan – The EMPP budget plan spreads your annual gas bill over 12 months. The estimated monthly payment is based on the previous year's natural gas usage.
- Why can’t DPU provide free water to its residents?
Clean and safe water is one of the most valuable resources in the protection of public health and safety. It is also one often taken for granted. The City’s sole source of drinking water is the James River. Water has to be pulled from the river and then treated, stored, distributed, and routed to homes and businesses. This is no small feat and requires a significant amount of capital and human resources, not to mention the added burden an aging infrastructure places on a utility. Rates paid by consumers help to ensure the water you receive at the tap is clean and safe and there when you need it.
- Why is my natural gas bill increasing?
A nationwide increase in the cost of natural gas is impacting consumers across the country, including those of Richmond Gas Works. By law, Richmond Gas Works must pass on the cost of natural gas purchased and delivered to customers, dollar for dollar, without any markup. Economic forecasts predict higher natural gas prices in advance of the heating season. Natural gas, however, remains the most economical choice of fuel across all energy sectors (electricity, heating oil, propane and kerosene).