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WW-INQUIRY: Starting or Transferring Utility Service

Explains rules regarding starting Utility services, necessary documentation, cost to start service and deposit determination.

What does it cost to start Utility services?

  • All past due bills must be paid prior to starting or reinstating new services.
  • Customers getting water service will be charged a $30 start service fee that will be billed to the first billing statement.
  • Customers will also be assessed a deposit based on a review of prior payment history with the Utility or another Utility, and will also be billed to the first billing statement.
    • The deposit may be as little as $0.00 and as much as two months' estimated water and sewer bills by meter size.
    • Deposits that equal two months' minimum water and sewer charges or that exceed $70.00 may be billed over two (2) months.

How do I start Utility services?

Property Owners may start services in a number of ways:

  1. Calling 311 or 574.235.9236 and selecting Option 4;
  2. Complete the Online Utilities Application 
  3. Visit the Customer Service Office at 125 W Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46601.

Who can start Utility services?

  • As of January 1st, 2017, only property owners may start or reinstate Utility services.
  • Property owners can still choose to have a copy of the billing statement mailed to the tenant at the service location, but as the primary account holder, the property owner will still remain ultimately responsible for payment of the bill. Tenant information must be provided by the property owner.
  • The Utility relies on ownership information provided publicly through the St. Joseph County Assessor's office. If you have recently purchased a new home or building, you will need to provide signed purchase documents to the Utility prior to the start of service. Common purchase documents include:
    • Closing Title Statement
    • Purchase Agreement
    • Deeds (Quitclaim, Warranty, Sheriff's Sale, etc)
    • The Utility does not recognize those purchasing on land contract as owners until formal transfer of ownership.
  • Customers are welcome to redact and/or blacken out any sensitive information from their purchase document they do not wish to share with the Utility.

How does the Utility determine "creditworthiness?"

  • ​For applicants who have had services with the Utility within the last two (2) years, all three (3) of the following criteria must be true for the Utility to waive the deposit:
    1. Owes no outstanding bills for services rendered within the past four (4) years;  
    2. During the last twelve (12) consecutive months that the service was provided, applicant did not have more than two (2) bills that were past due or, if service was rendered for a period of less than twelve (12) months, did not have more than one (1) past due bill in such period; and
    3. Within the last two (2) years did not have a service disconnected for nonpayment of a bill for services rendered by that utility.
  • If the applicant has NOT been a customer of any utility within the last two (2) years, documentation from another Utility which satisfies the above criteria will suffice. Or, two (2) of the following criteria must be met:
    1. Employment History:
      • Applicant has been employed by their employer for at least two (2) years; or
      • Applicant has been employed by their present employer for less than two (2) years, but has been employed by only one (1) other employer for the past two (2) years; or
      • Has been employed by their present employer for less than two (2) years and has no previous employment due to recently graduating from a school, university, or vocation program or being discharged from military service; and
    2. Owns or is buying their home.

It will be the responsibility of the applicant to produce documentation supporting their compliance with the above criteria.

For 311: