A second public water utility in South Carolina has signed a marketing agreement with HomeServe USA, a private warranty company.

Under the terms of a contract that the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority signed with the company on Monday, Connecticut-based HomeServe can use the utility’s logo in promotions “including, without limitation, email, newspaper advertising, ‘yellow pages,’ digital advertising, magazine advertising, media activity (such as internet, television, and radio), direct mail, telesales (inbound and outbound), customer callbacks, and other lawful methods.” In exchange, BJWSA will receive a $50,000 set-up fee, along with 12 percent of all payments received by HomeServe from customers in the utility’s service area.

Previously, in September 2013, the Charleston Water System became the first public utility in the state to sign a marketing agreement with HomeServe, agreeing to lease the rights to its logo for a $120,000 set-up fee and a 12-percent commission. HomeServe sells various home warranties, but the main one it promotes via public utilities covers the exterior water service line, which generally runs from a water meter to a house.

The BJWSA is a quasi-governmental special-purpose district with a governor-appointed board of directors. Board meeting minutes show that the utility had been in negotiations with HomeServe since as early as October 2014. According to Chief Administrative Officer Ken Jordan, the decision to enter the agreement was ultimately made by the utility’s general manager, Ed Saxon.

“The board was aware of it, and our general manager is the one that really entered the contract with HomeServe after staff evaluated a number of companies that provide these home warranties,” Jordan says.

Jordan adds that while BJWSA has signed the agreement, the utility has not yet begun actively promoting the warranty service.

“We’ve got a public relations manager that we’re hiring that will be in a better position to support and promote the program once they’re here,” Jordan says. “It’s going to be a little while yet before we actually actively engage customers and promote HomeServe.”

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