Billing Information

Your Public Services Bill

Your bill will be issued by the Department of Public Utilities. This bill is for the services available through the City of Portsmouth (water, sewer maintenance and refuse disposal). These charges are combined into one bill to simplify your payment and to save the cost of mailing separate bills, a cost that would ultimately be paid by you as a customer. Your bill covers two months. Your meter is read by Department of Public Utilities employees approximately every 60 days. Under unusual circumstances, such as a period of severe weather or if there is an obstacle over your meter box that prevents it from being read, your bill would then be estimated.

Your water meter measures your water usage in ccf units or centum cubic feet, which is the equivalent to 100 cubic feet. Each ccf is equal to 748 gallons. Your water and sewage maintenance charges are based on your metered usage.

Charges & Fees

Charges and fees reflect the costs of providing the different services you receive from the City of Portsmouth. Here is a brief explanation of these charges.

New Customer Fee

This fee is included on your first bill and covers the cost of establishing and maintaining your account with the Department of Public Utilities

Meter Charge

The ready to serve (meter service) charge is based upon your meter size and is set to recover the normal, fixed charges (meter reading, billing, etc.) associated with supplying you with water and servicing your account. This flat charge is included in the water charge.

The water charge is based upon a published water rate schedule and the amount of water that you use during the billing period.

The amount of water you use (measured in ccf) is multiplied by the current water rate to compute the amount of your water charge.

Sewage Charge

The sewage (maintenance) charge is based upon a published sewage rate schedule and the amount of water you use during the billing period. The amount of water you use (measured in ccf) is multiplied by the current sewage rate to compute the amount of your sewage charge.

A utility tax is added to your bill as required by city ordinance. The tax is applied to the total amount of the water charges (ready to serve and water charge) on your bill.

Refuse Collection Fee

The refuse collection fee is a flat monthly charge based upon the number of dwelling units and helps cover the City's cost for providing refuse and bulk waste disposal. The Department of General Services collects the refuse and bulk waste. The waste is disposed of at a City owned landfill (bulk waste) and at facilities run by a regional solid waste agency, the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA).

Late Charge

A late charge of 1.5% per month, computed daily is charged on bills remaining unpaid 30 days after billing.


Fees for returned checks and for cutting water on and off are also imposed to cover the actual costs of these services to those customers who require them.

Note: The Department of Public Utilities maintains sewage lines and sewage pumping stations. A state chartered, regional agency, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) treats the sewage. You will automatically receive a separate bill from HRSD for wastewater treatment. The city's sewage charge and the HRSD wastewater treatment charge are not the same.