The Utility Billing office provides personal interaction for assistance with utility billing questions.
The Town of Salem issues utility bills for commercial payments monthly and residential customers quarterly. We accept payments:
- At Town Hall (cash, check, or money order only)
- Online (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express and E-Check (ACH))
Please visit our Online Payments page to access our online payment portal via Invoice Cloud.
- I will be installing a sprinkler system this summer. What can I do to avoid paying for sewer charges on the water going on my lawn and into the ground rather than the sewer system?
You must purchase a "lawn meter." You would only be billed at the water rate for any water consumption used on your outside faucets if that is how it is plumbed. The costs involved are: the meter (see rate schedule), plumbing costs to plumb the lines for the second meter, and an additional admin fee $5.80 each bill.
- What is the utility shut off policy?
Utility bills are due 25 days from the bill date printed on the bill. 30 days after the due date a delinquent notice is mailed to the bill payer on the account and the owner, if the owner is not the bill payer. Within a few weeks from that date, a certified notice will be mailed to the bill payer giving the exact date of shut off. This is usually the first Wednesday of the month for commercial accounts and the third Wednesday of the month for residential accounts.
Payment in full of all overdue bills is due in our office by 5 pm of the previous day. If payment is not received by that time, a shut off and turn on fee of $50 would be placed on the account. This fee is due whether you are shut off that day or not. All payments at that time would need to be made by cash or money order only.
All of the overdue charges including the shut off and turn on fees would then need to be paid to the Billing Department personnel in the Town Hall before the water would be turned back on. If you are unable to pay your bill by the deadline date for the shut off, we ask that you call our office as soon as possible to make other arrangements. Depending on which you might qualify for, you will either be allowed to enter into a payment plan with the Town or be directed to the Human Services Department for assistance.
- How can I tell if my bill is based on a meter reading or an estimate?
About halfway down on your bill, on the left hand side, there is a long gray box. The fourth item over says "estimated." In the box underneath this, your bill will state "Estimate" if we estimated your bill for any reason. You may call our office and we can see why we had to estimate your bill.
- I am new to town and wish to have my name placed on the water account. What do I need to do?
If a final reading was taken before you purchased the home, your name may already be on the account. You may call us to confirm whether a final reading was taken or not. If a final reading was not taken, you should call us as soon as possible. Depending upon how much time has passed since you took ownership of the home, we would handle this in different ways. Since the current owner is ultimately responsible for all balances due on the utility account whether they are from before you moving in or after, the sooner we are notified of any changes in ownership, the smaller any previous consumption balances may be.
- I will be selling my home. What should I do to take my name off the water account?
Call our office as soon as possible to schedule a final water reading. We will ask for some initial information, i.e. date of closing, buyer's names, closing attorney's information, etc. The meters can be read from the office. There is no need for anyone to meet us at the property. We will submit the final bill to your attorney to be collected at the closing and then remove your name from the account and put the new owner's name/s on the account.
- What should I do if I think my meter was read incorrectly?
If you think there is a problem, we suggest you call our office.
Your meter is generally found in your basement and is your actual meter. It may be read by shining a very strong flashlight directly onto the top screen. The outside device, usually on the same wall as the inside meter is found, is a transmitter and cannot be opened. The meters usually have 6 digits on them that read like a speedometer.
If you have an exceptionally high bill, consider if any time since the last time your meter was read, you either watered a lawn, filled a pool, had extra people at the house, had a leaky toilet or faucet repaired, etc. This will help us in determining why your water bill may be higher than normal. If your bill seems exceptionally low, consider if you have been away for an extended period of time, did you have some people move out of the house i.e., children away at college, someone passed away, etc.
We will be more than happy to help you resolve any issues within our abilities. It may require you calling a plumber to make repairs.
- When is my next water bill due?
This depends upon which route you are read on. Meters are read all month. One third of the residential accounts are billed each month. Every commercial account is billed each month. The last 2 digits of your account number after the dash are your route number. Find these numbers in the following table and follow across for the bill issue date and the due date.
Due Dates by Route Number
Route Number Due 11 to 16 25th of March, June, September, December 21 to 25 25th of April, July, October, January 31 to 35 25th of February, May, August, November 02 and 90 Approximately the 15th of April, July, October, January 70, 80, and 81 Approximately the 15th of each month
- What is availability?
It is the administrative cost to process your bill. It covers the cost to read the meter, process the bill, the cost of the bills, the postage, etc.
- What is a betterment fee?
Betterment fees are an annual charge to help cover the cost of putting a water or sewer line in your neighborhood. Under our current policy, betterment fees are based on half of the total project cost divided by the total number of hookups connected to your particular line. This cost is divided over the number of years of the bond payment to pay off the construction costs. The other half is calculated in the water or sewer rates and charged accordingly to all water and/or sewer users in town. The bills are issued annually in April and are due in May. They cover the time period from April 1st of the year they are issued until March 31st of the following year.
Since these are bond payments we are collecting, we cannot collect them in advance if you were to move. The betterment payments are attached to the house and are billable to whoever is the owner of record as of April 1st of each year. If you are selling your house, your attorney may prorate the amount over the year. You must speak to them about making arrangements for that.
- I want to change my mailing address or a name on my account. What do I need to do?
You need to call our office. Depending upon the reason for the change, we may need to do a final reading.
- I turned on my water and nothing came out. What is happening?
Usually this is due to a water main break in your neighborhood. Water (Public Works) Department personnel must turn off the water to repair the line. It is only off as long as is required to repair the pipes. Inquiries about the status of main breaks should be made by calling the Public Works Department at 603-890-2150. We cannot feasibly notify everyone door to door that we need to turn the water off in an emergency like this. We can assure you that it is only done if necessary and will be restored as soon as possible.
- I just received my bill today and it is already past the due date. What should I do?
You are probably looking at the "Bill Date" rather than the "Due Date" of your current charges. Residential bills are issued quarterly and are generally mailed on the last day of the month. The current charges are due on the 25th of the following month. On the right side of your payment stub there is a box with the due date for the current charges on your bill. If you have a previous balance, that balance is due upon receipt.
- I just received a Delinquency Notice. Why am I getting this?
These notices are generated 30 days after a bill is due. They are mailed to the owner of the property and the bill payer, if the name is different. As the notice states, if the bill is received by our office without delay, no further action will take place.
If payment is not received promptly, a certified letter will be mailed informing you of the ensuing shutoff date and a certified fee will be placed on your account. If you have sent a payment in to us in the last few days it may have crossed in the mail with the notice and you may be able to disregard the notice. Although, it would probably be beneficial to call us to confirm we received your payment.
- I am renting and will be moving out. I want my name taken off the water bill. What should I do?
Call our office as soon as possible to schedule a final water reading. The meters can be read from the office. There is no need for anyone to meet us at the property.
- I am going away for the winter. Do I need to let the Town know?
We would prefer that you did. This will prevent us from estimating your bill, assuming that your meter is stuck. We will ask you some simple questions such as when you will be leaving and returning, a contact name and number for any emergencies, if the water is off or on in the house, etc. All information given to us is confidential. Your phone number is only used by us in cases of emergencies and not given out to anyone. If we do not know that your house is vacant and we notice no consumption and cannot contact you, we will be required to estimate your bill based on your past history of consumption.
- Am I billed for water I haven't used yet?
No, we do not bill in advance. We bill for water consumption that has gone through your meter. If for some reason we could not read your meter, i.e., snow is covering it, a dog is in the yard, your remote meter is reading the same as the previous quarter, etc., we may estimate your account if we have reason to believe the house is not vacant and there is not a valid reason for no consumption. We will base your estimate on your past history of water consumption. Your bill will state that it was estimated charges. Once we can get access to the meter your account would be adjusted for any differences.