City pipeline insurance program would allow opting out
By Foothills Focus Staff
Published February 16, 2023
Phoenix officials last week said an insurance plan that covers $8,500 worth of repairs to water and sewer pipelines that break between the house and the water meter will allow homeowners to opt out if the voluntary program is applied to all single-family homeowners.
City Council will consider making the HomeServe pipeline program part of the water bill to all homeowners when it considers later this spring a possible increase in water and sewer rates.
The city’s initial report early this month about the HomeServe program conversion did not mention the possibility of letting homeowners opt out.
However, city officials last week stressed homeowners could opt out.
HomeServe spokesman Myles Meehan said, "All homeowners have the option to opt-out if they care to. In fact, any resident could opt-out after the program began even if they overlooked the various announcements leading up to and after the start of the program."
For the last decade, homeowners in Phoenix have been able to sign up for the insurance plan. They are billed separately by the company.
HomeServe National Director Brian Davis told the subcommittee two weeks ago that since 2012, when Phoenix joined with the National League of Cities in a partnership for the program, some 27,324 homeowners have saved $7.4 million for 13,461 pipeline repairs while the city garnered $3 million in revenue.
Davis said about 20% of Phoenix single-family homeowners currently subscribe to the program, which costs $7.95 a month to cover the water line and an additional monthly fee of $9.45 to cover septic and sewer line breaks.
If the program were applied to all single-family households, homeowners likely would pay $2.50 or $3 a month, according to Davis.
Council may consider an additional program with an opt-out option.
That program, called ServeLine, is a “leak adjustment program” that indemnifies the city in instances where a homeowner on any given month has a water bill that significantly spiked from their average monthly rate because of a leak.
Davis said ServeLine would cost 50 cents to $1 a month and would cover the full overage so that the customer would only pay their normal monthly average and the city would not lose any money. Both programs are expected to be discussed when council considers a proposed new increase in water rates that would take effect later this year.