HWSA water customers will soon be receiving their PFC Surcharge Reimbursement checks - This FAQ document is to help answer some anticipated questions
What is the PFC surcharge?
The PFC Surcharge is an additional charge that went into effect for all HWSA water customers in September of 2016. The surcharge was instituted to cover the cost of reducing the average concentration of PFOS and PFOA in the public drinking water system to the “Horsham standard” of non-detect (< 5 ppt) that was adopted by HWSA and Horsham Township Council on June 26, 2016.
When can I expect my surcharge refund?
For most customers, checks should arrive in your mailbox sometime after October 15, 2020. Checks will arrive in a HWSA/MIRIA envelope with the words SURCHARGE REFUND CHECK ENCLOSED (in red). There are certain conditions that would delay the issuance of a surcharge refund check. This includes but is not limited to properties that were sold or connected to the system sometime during the period the surcharge was in effect and thus did not pay the surcharge for the entire three year period, or accounts with outstanding balances. If any of these circumstances apply to you, please feel free to contact the office.
Will everyone receive a refund check?
Not everyone will receive a refund. HWSA water customers who made payments towards the surcharge will receive a refund. If you are a sewer only customer (served by a private water well) or if you are supplied with public water by a neighboring supplier, you are not eligible for this refund.
How much can I expect my surcharge refund check to be?
Not all refund checks will be for the same denomination. The amount of the surcharge refund will be equal to the total amount, net of any surcharge credits, paid by each customer. The “typical” residential customer who was billed, and paid, the surcharge for the entire period it was in effect (September 2016-September 2019) can expect a refund of approximately $190. Surcharge rates are based on the meter size serving each property so properties with meters larger than ¾” will have been billed and paid a higher surcharge rate, and therefore will be receiving a larger refund.
Who will my refund check be addressed to?
Refund checks are being issued to the current owner associated with each specific account. If you are not the property owner, but you paid the surcharge through some kind of lease or other arrangement you are encouraged to reach out to the property owner to discuss the refund. Any refunds owed to properties with special occupancy agreements in place such as rentals, roommates, split bills, etc. must be determined between said parties and disbursed from the funds returned to the respective property owner(s).
Someone I know received their check but I have not, why?
Every customer may not receive their check at the same time. There are many different variables as to how checks have been or will be disbursed. Circumstances that may impact the delivery date of your refund check include but are not limited to the billing cycle, current or outstanding account balances as well as properties that sold or accommodate a rental.
How will this refund impact my water bill going forward?
The refunds have no impact on your water bill going forward. As promised from the beginning of implementation, refunds would be provided if and when the Authority obtained funding. Customers will continue to see the PFC surcharge on their bill as an on and off line item. This must be done for audit purposes.
Customers received a credit towards their PFC surcharge between December 2018 and March 2019, how does that credit impact this refund?
The surcharge refund will be net of any credit that was issued such that the total refund amount will be equivalent to the amount that was actually paid.
What if I have an outstanding account balance?
Any customer that has an outstanding balance which includes all or a portion of the billed PFC surcharge may not receive a refund check. If you are unsure whether this applies to your billing account, please feel free to contact the office.
Can a statement be provided to make sure I received the proper refund?
Yes, such requests must be submitted in writing and a statement will be provided. Please keep in mind that the Authority will be issuing in excess of 7,000 refunds so any such requests will be processed as quickly as possible, however a response time cannot be guaranteed.
Can I dispute the refund amount I received? How do I do that?
Yes, by submitting a written letter of dispute to the Authority. A review of the account will be conducted and a formal response provided. Please keep in mind that the Authority will be issuing in excess of 7,000 refunds so any such requests will be processed as quickly as possible, however a response time cannot be guaranteed.
What if I purchased or sold my property during the period the surcharge was in effect
Any property that was sold or transferred during the period the surcharge was in effect is still eligible for a refund equal to the amount paid during the time you owned the property. Refund amounts will be split between previous and current owners according to the time in which the property was owned by each party. If you are a previous property owner that had lived in Horsham between September 2016 and December 2019 you should contact the Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide updated contact information so that your refund check may be issued to you. All property transfers require a more vigorous accounting audit to ensure all respective property owners receive the refund they are entitled, therefore customers fitting this criteria can expect a delay in issuance of their refund check.
What if a relative of mine previously owned a home in Horsham and paid the surcharge, are they due a refund? Who gets the refund?
Refunds will be issued in the name of the past property owner. In the case of an estate or other situation where someone other than the property owner wishes to claim the refund, you should seek legal counsel. If the Authority is otherwise unable to locate the former property owner, the refund will ultimately be turned over to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property.
What will the Authority do with any checks that are returned or not cashed?
The Authority will make reasonable attempts to ensure that everyone receives their refund. Refund checks that are not cashed or are returned to the Authority will ultimately be sent to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property.