How to Read Your Utility Bill

Use this illustrated guide to learn about the different parts of your bill for your City of Salem utility account. Scroll down or select an area of the bill to learn more about it.

Have you considered saving time and resources with paperless statements? Whether you choose to receive paperless or paper statements, you can register and create an online profile to easily manage your utility payments and bills online.

Top of the bill

The top of your utility bill shows information about your specific utility account, as well as contact information to reach Customer Services Utility Billing.

​Contact us

Contact customer services part of bill

To discuss your utility account, contact the Customer Services Utility Billing center during the business hours listed using the phone number or other contact information provided in the top left corner of your bill.

​Service address

Service address area of bill

The service address is the address of the property where utility services are provided. It can be found at the very top middle of your bill.

​Service period

Service period are on bill

The service period is the billing period for the current bill. It is located in the top middle portion of your bill, just beneath the service address.

Customer account information

Account information area of bill

Information regarding the utility account including account number, security code, bill date (date the bill is generated), account class, and account area can be found in the top right corner of your bill. The account number and security code are required to make a payment by phone or online.

Right side of the bill

The right side of the bill shows information about your consumption and usage. On the City of Salem website you can find home owner tips for detecting leaks and preventing frozen pipes and sewer back-up, as well as other general utility information that can help you manage your usage.

​Usage summary

Usage summary area of bill

Wastewater volume (units)

Wastewater (sewer) volume is not metered for most customers. Wastewater volume units are determined annually using the average water consumption of two to four measureable meter readings taken on or after November 1 of each year. Once the wastewater volume is determined, customers are billed the same wastewater volume charge each month for one year, even if water usage is different than the wastewater volume amount.

Stormwater area (square feet)

Stormwater area is charged based on the customer classification and the amount of impervious surface on the property at the service address.

Meter readings and consumption units

This shows the previous meter reading and the current meter reading for the service period. Consumption units are the amount of water used during the billing period calculated as the difference between the previous meter reading and the current meter reading. A monthly charge is calculated by multiplying the number of consumption units by the established water volume rate. One unit of water equals 748 gallons.

​Water consumption history

Water consumption history area of bill

The graph beneath the usage summary shows water consumption history for the past 12 months. Use this information to manage your water consumption and for leak detection.

​Left side of the bill

The left side of the utility bill shows the prior balance, payments, adjustments, and current charges for your account.

Current utility rates and other fees, as well as a utility bill estimator, are available on the City of Salem website. There is also information about the emergency utility assistance program and the utility rate relief program for eligible customers.

Balance summary

Balance summary area of bill

Previous balance

The previous balance is any balance from previous billing statements. Previous balances are due immediately. If this balance is not paid, services may be disconnected, and/or the previous balance may be transferred to a collection agency prior to the due date of any current charges.


Payments made prior to the current bill date are listed underneath the previous balance.


Any adjustments made to the utility account prior to the current bill date are listed underneath the previous payment. Adjustments may include​—but are not limited to​—leak adjustment, additional utility account fees, and transfer of balance to a collection agency.


The balance shows any amount due or credit remaining after payments and adjustments have been applied to the previous balance, but before current charges are added.

​Itemized current charges

Itemized charges area of bill

Volume fees

Volume fees are the monthly charges calculated by multiplying the consumption, units, or square footage by the established rate.

Base fees

Base fees cover the costs of services that occur regardless of how much the service is used (such as reading and maintenance of meters, water quality monitoring, and infrastructure maintenance).

Franchise fee

The City of Salem charges a five-percent franchise fee to all utilities for using the City’s right-of-way. The franchise fee is calculated monthly on all utility charges except the backflow prevention fee and the streetlight fee.

Backflow prevention fee

Backflow prevention assemblies are required to protect drinking water from potential sources of contamination. The City of Salem’s backflow prevention program ensures compliance with local codes and with state laws and rules. The backflow prevention fee is charged to all accounts required to have a backflow prevention assembly.

Streetlight fee

The streetlight fee covers the cost to operate, upgrade, and expand the City of Salem’s streetlight system. Streetlight costs include electricity and maintenance of the system, as well as gradual installation of streetlights in neighborhoods where they currently are not in place but are desired by residents. Every resident of Salem benefits directly or indirectly from lighted streets. Developed properties within the Salem city limits are charged a streetlight fee even if they do not receive water or wastewater services or there is no streetlight currently installed near the property.

​Amount due

Amount due area of bill

Current charges

Current charges are the subtotal for utility services for the service period listed on the utility bill.

Total amount due

The total amount due is the amount to be paid (or the credit amount on the account) based on previous balances and current charges.

Current charges due

Current charges due shows the payment due date for the current charges. Make your payment by the due date to avoid a delinquency reminder notice and possible disconnection.

If your service is pending disconnection or has been disconnected for nonpayment, please call Customer Services Utility Billing and provide the confirmation code of your recent payment to reinstate service.

Bottom of the bill​

The bottom of the bill is your utility payment remittance stub.

Payment remittance stub

Payment remittance stub area of bill

Detach the payment remittance stub from the bottom of your bill and include it with your payment whenever you pay your bill through the mail, in person, or at one of the drop box locations. Payment options are listed on the reverse side of the remittance stub.

Contact us

Customer Services Utility BillingPublic Works Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
1410 20th Street SE Building 2
Salem OR 97302-1200
Mail payments to:
P.O. Box 2795
Portland OR 97208-2795