Service Line Protection Program Extends to 100,000 NYC Homeowners
More than 2,000 repairs have been made since January
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland and American Water Resources (AWR) President Malcolm Conner announced that more than 100,000 homeowners in New York City have signed up for the water and sewer Service Line Protection Program that launched in January 2013.
So far, the program has saved these customers more than $7 million in repair charges that would have otherwise been paid out of pocket. During the program’s first year, AWR has performed more than 2,000 repairs across the five boroughs and more than 95% of customers surveyed are very satisfied with the service.
“We established the Service Line Protection Program to shield homeowners from unexpected repair costs and, in less than a year, thousands of New Yorkers have already benefited from the program,” said DEP Commissioner Strickland. “At DEP we are committed to customer service and it is rewarding to see that more than 95 percent of New Yorkers who have signed up for this program are happy with it.”
Brooklyn homeowner Ronald Robins told officials he felt “lucky” that the water line leak on his property happened when it did, instead of prior to his enrolling in the program a few months ago. “Nobody wants to have a water or sewer line problem, but if it had to happen, I’m just glad it happened after I signed up for the protection program because everything was covered and I didn’t have to worry about the cost or finding a plumber,” Robins said. “I called the customer service number, and within a few hours someone was here to help me.”
Property owners in New York City are responsible for maintaining their water and sewer service lines, which are buried underground and run from the building to the City-owned mains under the street. On average, it costs property owners in New York City 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.
In 2012, DEP responded to more than 3,000 reported leaks, of which 77% 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 2011. After a thorough review, AWR was awarded a contract to administer the Service Line Protection Program for the roughly 670,000 eligible properties in New York City. Since the program launched in January, 101,458 homeowners have signed up for the program, with the highest enrollment in Queens, followed by Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.
DEP customers are eligible to participate if they have a single service line of 2 inches or less, and protection starts after a 30-day waiting period from signing up with the program. The current costs of the Service Line Protection Program are $4.49 per month to protect the water line and $7.99 per month 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 water and sewer service charges. Customers who choose to join the program may elect to protect either their water and sewer lines, or just one of the lines.
The Service Line Protection Program provides unlimited protection for covered repairs and basic restoration of the affected property. It also provides 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 monthly program fee will be itemized and included on each participating customer’s regular DEP water and sewer bill.