FAQ’s

What is e-bill and how does it work?

Ottawa County is offering a paperless option to its Utility Billing customers. Instead of receiving a paper bill, you will receive a notification via e-mail.  The bill date, due date and other information you are accustomed to seeing on your bill, will remain the same.

Are there any additional charges?

No, the e-billing service is included as part of your standard bill.

What are the benefits of e-bill?

  • You will have one less piece of mail to sort through
  • You will receive your bill immediately when it is released
  • You will avoid mailing delays
  • You will always know where your bill is
  • You will help Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering save money on postage, and other billing expenses
  • You will join the “Green Movement” by being environmentally conscious as e-bill saves trees, energy and resources

What payment options do I have with e-bill?

You have the same payment options as you would with a mailed paper bill.

If I sign up for e-bill, do I have to sign up for automatic bill pay?

No. Automatic Bill Payment is only an option and not required. For ease of service, we do recommend the automatic bill payment option as the most convenient payment method.

What if I have multiple utility billing accounts?

Once you are registered through the customer portal, you will be able to link all your utility billing accounts through one registration.  You must register on the customer portal at https://ocse.authoritypay.com

Will the e-bill look like the paper statement I get every month?

Yes, the e-bill is an electronic duplicate of your paper statement.

Can I still mail in my payments with e-bill?

We do encourage you to join our many customers that already tender payments electronically via our automatic bill payment option; however, if you want to mail it in, you can print your e-bill and submit your payment with the remittance stub. Be sure to include the account number on your check or money order.

What if I want to stop e-bill and return to paper billing?

You may elect to stop e-bill at any time by opting out via the customer portal.

Can I view my e-bill if I do not have a computer at home?

You can access your e-bill from any computer with internet service.

Is it safe to receive my bill via email?

Yes. The county maintains a secure environment for your electronic transactions.

How soon will I receive my first e-bill?

You should receive your e-bill on the next bill date following your registration.  A paper statement will be mailed until the e-bill begins.

How do I sign up?

You must register on the customer portal

  1. Go to https://authoritypay.com
  2. Click on Set Up Online Access
  3. Enter your Account Number exactly as it is shown on your bill
  4. Enter your CID (customer identification)
  5. Enter a valid email address
  6. Enter a password
  7. Confirm the password
  8. Click Create Account
  9. You will receive an email confirmation.  You must click on the link provided in the email and follow the prompts to complete your enrollment
  10. Once your account has been verified, another message appears on your screen
  11. Click on the link.  Click Here to go to the Login Page (this link will redirect you to the customer portal page)

What do I do if I’ve changed my email address or want to be notified at a different email address?

All changes for e-bill must be completed through the customer portal at https://ocse.authoritypay.com

I’m not receiving the email notifications each month. What do I do?

Check your email spam filter or junk email box.  The email will come from myocse<[email protected]>.  Be sure to add this email to your “rules” to prevent it from getting caught in filters. Verify the email address that you gave us is correct. If you are still having problems, contact the Utility Billing Department at 419-734-6728.

Will my email address be shared with anyone else?

Your email address will not be shared with any outside party; it will only be used for utility billing related matters.

What about past due notices or other notifications sent by Utility Billing Department?

Other correspondences will be mailed to the billing account’s mailing address through the US Postal Service.

What is the Customer Portal??

The Customer Portal is an on-line link that allows Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering customers to view their utility account information for water and/or sewer on-line. To get started, please have a bill to refer to for account number and CID (customer identification) number.  Register for the customer portal at https://authoritypay.com.   Please note that the account number must be entered exactly as it appears on the bill.   Once registered and logged in, you may view your water consumption, payment history and pay your bill.

How do I sign up for Automated Bill Payment?

  • Using the back side of the remittance stub from your monthly utility bill, complete the center section and include a check or savings account information.  Return to the Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering Department
  • Email the bank name, routing number and bank account number to [email protected]  Please include the service address or utility billing account number in the email
  • Contact one of our Billing Specialists at 419-734-6728 for details or an application.

How do I transfer my water & sewer service if I am moving?

Please call our office at 419-734-6728 or email us at [email protected]

How is my sewer bill handled when I sell my home in the middle of the month?

All charges should be pro-rated, at the time of closing.  The new owner will be responsible for charges accruing after the closing date; plus any delinquent charges that have been certified to the tax duplicate.

I forgot to schedule a final meter reading before I moved out of my old residence.  What should I do?

Please contact our office immediately at 419-734-6728 to schedule a final meter reading.

As tenant of record, the responsibility for paying the water bill on that property remains yours until such time as a final meter reading is obtained and service is terminated.

Do you require a security deposit before service is started?

No, we do not require security deposits.  All it takes is a telephone call to start service in your name (419-734-6728).

Where can I pay my bill?

Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering offers the following payment options:

  • Automatic Payment from a checking or savings account
  • Online Payment for credit/debit cards.  Please register with the customer portal at https://ocse.authoritypay.com for this option
  • Drop Box that is located just outside the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department entrance
  • Pay By Phone for credit/debit cards and e-check.  Please call Jet Pay at 1-855-893-5395
  • Pay by mail or in person with cash, check or money orders at: Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering.  315 Madison Street, Room 105, Port Clinton, Ohio, 43452.

The water usage on my bill seems high.  Can this be rechecked?

Yes, contact our office at 419-734-6728 and request that your meter be checked.

 Does water usage factor into the calculated sewer bill?

No, water usage does not affect the sewer bill.  Sewer billing is based on a flat fee.

If I don’t pay my sewer and/or water bill is there a penalty?

Yes, our office charges 10% penalty on any late payments.

I have paid my bill late.  Can I have my penalty waived?

Yes, contact our office at 419-734-6728 or via at [email protected] to request a penalty waiver.                      A penalty can be waived once in a 12 month revolving period

What will happen if I am a “sewer only” customer and do not pay my bill?

At the end of August each year, our office will certify all unpaid sewer bills plus penalties to the upcoming year’s property taxes for collection.

How long will the above sewer bill charges stay on my property taxes?

The delinquent sewer bills will be collected on the upcoming year’s property taxes only.

I have a grinder pump for which I supply the electric.  Do I receive a credit for this?

Yes, a $2.00 electrical credit is included on your bill for each equivalent dwelling unit served by the grinder pump after an easement/access is granted to the County and the County assumes ownership of the grinder pump.

How do I change my mailing address?

All changes must be submitted in writing by email, mail, or fax.

I experienced a leak in my private water service.  Is there an adjustment that can be made on my bill?

Requests for a Bulk Rate Adjustment (water charge adjustment) must be submitted in writing in email, mail, or fax.  Please include information outlining the problem, the time period of the leak and when the repair was made.

What is an equivalent dwelling unit?

Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU’s) are units of measure that standardize all land use categories (housing, retail, office, food service, etc.) to the level of demand created by one single-family dwelling unit.

EDU’s are commonly utilized by utilities to calculate monthly service charges for users connected to a wastewater treatment system.  EDU’s are computed in accordance with the probable demand that a user places on the wastewater treatment system by assignment of an equivalency factor.  The probable flow rate demand that a user places on a wastewater treatment system is correlated to the demand expected by a single-family dwelling by the use of equivalency factors.  See the Ottawa County Sewer District Rules and Regulations, Table “A” of Equivalency Factors and Categories for specific details.

In addition, capital improvement assessment policies will commonly utilize EDU’s to calculate and determine a property owner’s financial contribution to a capital improvement project; as well as to determine the up-front connection and/or equalization fee charges that a property owner must pay when applying for a permit to connect to a new system.

If I purchase a home from a Sheriff’s Auction, what am I responsible for concerning the sanitary sewer and/or water?

All delinquent sewer and/or water charges are the responsibility of the new owner of the home.  Research the property before you purchase the home.

If my tenant does not pay the sewer and/or water bill and delinquent charges were added, who is responsible for the payment?

The property owner is responsible for any unpaid charges for the sewer and/or water.

I have a financial crisis and cannot pay my utility bill.  What can I do?

  • Contact our billing staff at 419-734-6728 to discuss payment arrangements
  • Call 211 or 1-800-650-HELP (4357).  This is United Way and their customer service representatives will be able to assist you.

How much does the Ottawa County Regional Water Plant & Transmission System charge each governmental stakeholder for the wholesale supply of water?

Pursuant to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement, in 2018 (the last full year that water service was provided by the Ottawa County Regional Water Treatment Plant to the City of Port Clinton, the Village of Oak Harbor and the Ottawa County Regional Water Distribution Customers), the average water supply cost charged to each governmental entity was:

  • $2.76 per 1000 gallons to the City of Port Clinton
  • $2.68 per 1000 gallons to the Village of Oak Harbor
  • $2.97 per 1000 gallons to the Ottawa County Water Distribution Customers

The average cost per 1000 gallons for each government entity represents the entire operation, maintenance, debt service and administrative cost of Ottawa County to pump raw water from the lake, treat it, pump it to each governmental entity, and then master meter and pressure reduce the finished water before it is delivered to each satellite distribution system.

These charges are updated yearly based upon actual annual usage amounts and the cost to supply the water.

Why is there year round water & sewer billing for seasonal customers?

Ottawa County has a permanent population of just over 40,000 residents living in an area of approximately 585 square miles (255 Land and 330 Water).  The county has 26+ miles of shoreline along the Western Basin of Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay attracting as many as 250,000 people to the area on a daily basis throughout the spring, summer and fall months.  Visitors return to the area often throughout the year to boat, fish and enjoy the many water related recreational activities that the County has to offer. In addition, many visit local historical landmarks, frequent casual dining facilities, and enjoy the various lodging and camping opportunities that exist.  The influx of both the seasonal and transient community varies tremendously throughout the year and is typically very weather dependent.

Providing a safe drinking water supply and sanitary sewer service to the eastern 1/3 of Ottawa County (which experiences the largest influx of seasonal and transient visitors) requires that local infrastructure be sized to serve peak activity periods during peak visitation days.  This typically includes holiday weekends and any extended favorable weather forecast period throughout the summer months.  Peak visitation activity throughout the area requires a significant investment in the amount of reserve capacity built into the water and wastewater treatment plants as well as the distribution & collection systems.  The local infrastructure is all sized, at a considerable expense, to serve the peak 20-year design flow day (which occurs on a very seldom basis).  The Ohio EPA mandates the sizing requirements of the facilities and the County is obligated to operate, maintain and administer the facilities each day throughout the year.

The original 6-Million Gallon per Day (MGD) Ottawa County Regional Water System was placed into operation in May 1999.  The system was required by Ohio EPA to be expanded in 2002 when on one hot summer day, the 6-MGD facility exceeded its peak design flow.  As a result, Ottawa County was required to install a 3-MGD treatment expansion to the facility at a cost of $3.7 million dollars.  This expansion was prompted primarily due to the influx of seasonal and transient visitors on that one peak day in 2002.  Since then, the facility has only exceeded 6-MGD one other time.  The expense associated with the required expansion is being paid by both the permanent and seasonal community, even though the majority of the demand placed upon the system causing it to exceed the original 6-MGD threshold on that one day was seasonal in nature.

Sanitary sewer billing is based, in principal, upon EPA’s suggested flow guide that utilizes standardized equivalency factors to calculate the benefit of providing sanitary sewer service to the various classifications of users.  Each equivalency factor is computed on the basis of the probable demand that transient and seasonal users place on a sanitary sewer system when being used.  Even though the demand that a seasonal or transient visitor varies tremendously throughout the year, the county must have available and maintain that additional reserve capacity for their use throughout the entire year.  As a result, the concept of the Equivalent Dwelling Unit billing system is used based upon the availability of the infrastructure throughout the entire year.