Ken G. of Hermitage, Tennessee, often spent time away from his home during the winter months. As a retiree, it wasn’t a problem for him to secure his home and enjoy himself somewhere else.

Unfortunately, after one of Ken’s trips, he came home to an unpleasant surprise – a wet and muddy lawn. It was bad news for Ken, because his soggy lawn hadn’t been caused by a rainstorm, but by a broken water service line connecting his home to the Gladeville Utility District’s water distribution system.

“When I got back, I could see where the water had run into the yard, there was a muddy spot,” Ken said. “The water line had broken halfway between the house and the road, and it was on my side, and it was my responsibility.”

Many homeowners do not realize that the service lines connecting their homes to the utility systems are their responsibility to maintain, and they often only find out once they have an issue with their service line and call their utility for help. However, Ken was aware of this because he had had a prior break in his water line a few years before.

“I had been gone for almost a month and the water line had frozen during my absence,” he said. “It was an unpleasant surprise. Ever since, I have kept up on checking my water use history and I have never been over $25 a month.”

That soggy spot in his lawn gave Ken a bad feeling because he had no idea when the break had occurred or how long his meter had been spinning. He contacted Gladeville Utility to figure out how much water had been lost.

Residential water loss is a real problem in the U.S., with the Environmental Protection Agency estimating that household water leaks waste approximately 900 billion gallons of water across the country each year – the equivalent of a year’s worth of water usage for 11 million homes. Not only is that treated water wasted, but it is an added cost to residential water bills.

Ken learned that his water bill for the month would be more than $1,000 – a whopping 40 times the average cost of his monthly bill. This is where Ken’s luck turned around, because Gladeville Utility had was a participant in the ServLine Leak Protection Program by HomeServe.

The leak protection program, which Gladeville customers could choose to opt out of, would cover the portion of the bill that exceeded Ken’s average monthly usage once the leak had been repaired. That meant that Ken would only pay his usual bill and not be on the hook for nearly $1,000 for his water bill, especially after having to pay for the repair to his water service line.

Additionally, Gladeville Utility would receive the money the utility was owed, instead of having to write it off. As water utilities continue to struggle with maintaining aging systems and the rising costs of treating water, the leak protection program allows utilities to avoid bad debt, improve customer satisfaction and employee morale.

Ken gave his utility a call and because he did not opt-out of the leak protection program, was happy to learn that he wouldn’t have to worry about a big water bill.

“I had super service from Gladeville Water,” he said. “All those folks were super nice, helpful and happy. I have no complaints. You can’t beat them for being courteous, friendly and helpful.”

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