Make a Trip to the Water Works

July 9, 2015

How customers have paid their water bills has changed over time Since 1860, Louisville Water customers have received a statement of sorts. In the beginning it was a “water rent” due twice a year. You’d pay in person at the company’s original office on Third Street.   By 1910, the city was divided into two districts, east and west, with Third Street the dividing line. A quote from the 1910 Annual Report suggests there were still two periods during the entire year: “We were very proud of having the building completed so as to receive the patrons for the new year. During the ‘pay time’ as it is called, January and July of each year, a great many people call in person to pay their bills.  This January we were delighted to be able to wait upon everybody without delay and to please them as we did.” Coming to pay your bill during this time period must have been an adventure. The drawing of the 1910 building shows women in beautiful dresses in horse-drawn carriages. “The Story of Pure Water,” a film produced in 1938, includes footage from the cashier window and the billing department at the corporate office.  The building included plush carpet and spittoons by the window. Sometime during the mid-1900s, Louisville Water began offsite substations. In the 1966 Annual Report, the Secretary boasts that customers can pay their bill at one of 86 substations for convenience. Today’s corporate office still includes a customer service area—though there are no more spittoons and there hasn’t been a horse-drawn carriage in years! Customers still receive a statement from Louisville Water, only now they can pay in person, by mail, over the phone, or online. LINK, the new customer care and billing system we are debuting on March 23, will allow customers to sign up for electronic bills instead of receiving physical copies in their mailbox. The effort to “go green” is long overdue and will finally occur in the spring.