State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, said he was pleased that the city had procured a service line protection provider to offer coverage to water and sewer customers in the event of a service line break.
But the senator also warned that other service line protection providers that are offering coverage at significantly higher rates.
Last year, the senator called on the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to ease the financial burden on homeowners who were forced to pay for repairs to breaks in their connection to the city’s water main. He argued that the agency should fix the breaks since the connections were underneath the city’s streets.
Avella said he was informed by the DEP that American Water Resources has been selected as its protection program provider and that its plan to relieve homeowners from paying for breaks will begin in 2013.
“Middle class homeowners throughout the city are being forced by DEP to dig up the street in front of their home and repair their connection on city property within three days of a discovered break, often costing homeowner thousands of dollars,” Avella said. “At least with [the DEP’s] new insurance policy, homeowners will be able to defray the cost of repairs for a broken service line with a nominal monthly fee.”
The DEP could not be reached for comment.
Under the city’s program, American Water Resources will offer a $3.99 per month fee for water line coverage and $7.99 for sewer line coverage. Customers would be charged for the services on their regular water and sewer bills.
Avella said he has received mailers from other service line protection providers that are offering similar services to northeast Queens residents, but at much higher rates.
One company provides unlimited annual coverage and a one-year guarantee on repairs.
But Avella pointed out that the policy only covers damages to the exterior water service line on single-family homes from the foundation to the property line.
“It is important in these situations that consumers are aware of all their options and to be wary of companies that may try and take advantage of homeowners in vulnerable states, especially those on a fixed income,” Avella said.