High Usage Notification

Overview:

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) developed the award-winning High Usage Notification Application (HUNA) as a free service to proactively notify customers of high water use - including unknown household leaks, sprinklers accidentally left running or ruptured washing machine hoses. The HUNA has generated more than 18,000 notifications to customers since January 2006.

Background:

In 2002, DC Water initiated an effort to provide all customers with Automated Meter Reading (AMR) equipped meters. The DC Water AMR process combines Meter Transmission Units attached to each meter, and cellular technology to retrieve and store two readings per day. Once the AMR project was completed, the Customer Service and Information Technology departments collaborated to incorporate this new, innovative technology to enhance customer service. The result was the High Usage Notification Application. In January 2006, DC Water began using HUNA to send notifications to customers.

How it works:

Customers are automatically enrolled in the HUNA program as long as their account has a valid telephone number or email address on file. In addition to being auto-enrolled in the program, customers have the ability to opt-out, or provide their preferred notification settings. They can modify their notification settings to include multiple telephone numbers, multiple email addresses, and multiple text message accounts. Notification methods are not mutually exclusive, so customers can be notified by any combination of telephone, email, and text.

Customers can manage high usage notification preferences by accessing their account at https://mydcwater.dcwater.com, and then selecting "water usage history."

Recent Accomplishments (HUNA 2.0):

Given the success of HUNA and the expansion of the technology since its inception, DC Water has evaluated the current system for strengths and weaknesses. The HUNA 2.0 effort is being initiated to implement new features, expand and enhance existing functions, and improve customer service even more. Following are some of the recent enhancements:

  • Customers can set high usage notifications to multiple telephone numbers, email addresses, and text messages. This will enable a customer to configure one high usage event to notify multiple family members, property managers, etc.
  • The high usage threshold has been lowered by 40 percent, which allows DC Water to identify nearly twice as many instances of high use.
  • The program now incorporates eight calling windows throughout the day to allow for greater opportunity to reach customers in case of a busy telephone line if the first attempt isn't successful.
  • Customers will be identified and notified on the first day after receiving meter readings for the evaluation period, rather than the second day.

Future enhancements:

We are continuously improving the system, and, as a result, the following upgrades are planned:

  • Usage/Conservation Calculator
  • Customer Initiated High Usage Threshold
  • Residential vs. Commercial High Usage Configuration
  • Survey - let us know what you think!

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