Bakersfield Flat to Meter Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Cal Water installing meters?
All water providers are required by law to install meters by 2025; the City of Bakersfield has requested that we accelerate our meter installation program because of the critical importance of conserving water.
Will my bill go up when I get the meter?
Your bill could go up or down, depending on how much water you use. You can use the information in our conservation section to help minimize your water usage.
Where exactly will the meter go?
In virtually all cases, it will be placed where your existing Cal Water valve is located. If you have a parkway in front of your house, this valve is probably located there. If your sidewalk adjoins the curb, this valve is most likely in the landscaped area on the back edge of the sidewalk. In most cases, the valve (and meter) should be located in front of your house between the property lines.
When will you be installing a meter at my house?
An estimated schedule is available online. The schedule is a living document that will change from time to time.
How will I know when you’re approaching my neighborhood?
We will send you a letter by mail a few weeks beforehand, and one or two days before we reach your property, we’ll hang a notice on your front door.
Does it cost anything to have the meter installed?
No, the costs of the meter and installation are included in water rates.
Then why is there a meter service charge on the metered bill?
Monthly bills for metered service include a fixed monthly service charge based upon meter size. This service charge covers fixed costs. Many costs of operating a water system do not change based upon water use. Costs to finance and maintain a water system of wells, pipes, pumps, and tanks are constant regardless of how much water is used. Also, payroll and benefits for your local staff do not change with water use. These facilities and services ensure that the water system is ready to provide you with water service whenever you need it.
Who pays for installing the meter?
It is included in water rates.
Do I need to be home for you to do this work?
You do not need to be home when your meter is installed. In most cases, we will turn the water back on in your absence. If our inspector determines that water is flowing through the meter after the system stabilizes, we will leave the water off to avoid water loss. A note will be left on your door with a 24-hour phone number you can call. We will dispatch an employee to turn your water back on and help you determine if you have a leak.
When will the map of Bakersfield with each project outlined be on your web site?
An overall project map is available, showing those projects that have been scheduled. More detailed maps can be found through the estimated schedule page.
What if the valve is in the concrete?
Any concrete we are required to remove to install the meter will be replaced at no cost to you.
What if the valve has landscaping near it?
We will make every effort to impact surrounding landscaping as little as possible. Our goal is to leave the area like we found it, to the extent possible.
What if my valve is in the back yard?
Water mains located in back yards present a challenge for us. Each property will be assessed, and based on this assessment,
we will do one of the following:
  • Install a meter in your back yard that we will eventually read on a monthly basis.
  • Install a meter in your back yard that can be read electronically without us entering your back yard.
  • Replace the old back yard water main with a water main in front of your house. We replace old water mains as part of our ongoing water system maintenance program, and it could take several years before we reach your area. If that is the case, your meter will be placed in the back yard until the main line is replaced by a new one in front of your house.
What is the average water usage for a residential metered customer?
Average summer usage for metered customers is 37 Ccf, and average winter usage for metered customers is 14 Ccf.
What happens when the meter is installed in the middle of the billing cycle?
There will be a period of time between the date the meter is installed and your first metered bill arrives. If we begin billing you for metered service in the middle of the billing cycle, the bill will be prorated to the effective date to ensure that you’re not paying twice for the same period.
Will the meter be read by a person or electronically?
In most cases, it will be read by a person who will enter the information into a hand-held computer; however, as indicated earlier, for certain properties, we may install remote-read meters.
What does my flat-rate fee pay for?
The flat rate covers both the fixed and variable costs of water service, while the metered bill is broken into two components: the service charge, which covers a portion of the fixed water system operations costs, and the quantity rate, which is the charge based upon the amount of water used.
Why is it going to take so long to complete the conversions?
It takes significant resources, and we are completing the conversions as quickly as possible while controlling the impact on rates.
Can I get a meter sooner than scheduled?
You can request a meter and we will install it as soon as possible; however, we will adhere to our installation plan as much as possible to avoid significantly impacting rates.
How do you determine what size meter to install?
Your meter size will be based on your lot size.
I have a large lot, will the meter restrict flow?
The meter size will be based upon the lot size to ensure adequate flow. The meter should have very little effect on water flow.
Should I sign up for the Water and Sewer Line Protection Programs?
As a homeowner, you own the water and sewer/septic lines on your property. You are responsible for the maintenance and repair of these lines. Tree roots, soil conditions and the age of your water line or sewer/septic line can all cause your lines to fail, leaving you with a repair bill that can be very costly. The insurance protection that is offered by Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, a Cal Water preferred provider, are optional, third-party, non-tariffed services. Cal Water customers are not required to sign up for these services in order to receive regulated water utility services from Cal Water. Decide for yourself if this coverage is right for you. If you have any further questions about the programs offered please call Home Emergency Insurance Solutions toll-free 1-877-444-2465 or go online to
Will you fix my house line if it leaks after you install the meter?
We will repair any leaks caused by our meter installation.