Starting or Transferring Utility Service

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Starting or Transferring Utility Service


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



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. For property owners who wish to have Utility accounts in their name: complete the form for new services on the web portal: utilities.southbendin.gov (deposit may be required to start utility service).
  3. For property owners who wish to have Utility accounts in their tenant's name: complete the Owner Authorization Form and email to: SBMUCustomerService@southbendin.gov
  4. The tenant residing in a location where the owner wishes to have Utility accounts in the tenant's name needs to complete the Tenant Application Form. Form can be emailed SBMUCustomerService@southbendin.gov or submitted at the South Bend Municipal Utilities Customer Service Office, located at 125 W Colfax Avenue. 
  5. Proof of ownership documentation must be provided to customer service. The following forms of documentation (with signatures) may be provided as proof of ownership: a deed, title or purchase agreement.


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. Additionally, customers with trash service will be billed a $10 administrative fee.
  • Customers may need to pay a deposit based on a review of prior payment history with the Utility or another Utility, and will also be billed on their first bill.
    • 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.
    • The deposit will be determined at the time of the application and can be paid at: 125 W. Colfax.


How does the Utility determine deposit criteria?

  • ​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; 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 the utility within the last two (2) years, documentation from another Utility (such as AEP or Nipsco) which satisfies the above criteria will suffice. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to produce this documentation.


311 Process Notes

If an owner wishes to have the tenant as the utility account holder pursuant to HEA 1347, the owner will be required to complete and sign an Owner Authorization form listing who the tenant is for each location (new form for each new tenant). This form is to be filled out in conjunction with the tenant filling out the Tenant Application form at the customer service office. If deemed necessary, the tenant will be charged a deposit prior to having services started in their name. 

The owner can be provided with an Owner Authorization Form and they can email this form back in to Water Works Customer Service.  The tenant can go in to Customer Service to fill out the Tenant Application Form and pay a deposit if necessary.

HEA 1347 states that the owner can keep the utilities account in their name or the tenant can be the account holder. Property owners who wish to keep the utilities account in their name may do so.

***Due to Covid-19 the deposit will be billed vs requested up front.  

The customer should be directed to the portal: utilities.southbendin.gov to complete an application for new services. If the customer is unable to do this, they can send their forms into SBMUCustomerService@southbendin.gov. In that case, the notes and service form need to be completed to capture the relationship to the service address, current phone number and e-mail, date looking to start service, If they are a current South Bend resident, what is the address they are moving from, and what date did they want services terminated at that location. 

We do not start services same day unless approved by a customer service manager after reaching out to the service department. There are times when an exception needs to be made.