TITLE 13
PUBLIC SERVICES
Chapter 13.02   Utility Credit/Deposits/Billing/Notices
Chapter 13.04   Sewer Regulations*
Chapter 13.06   Industrial Wastewater Regulations
Chapter 13.08   Sewer Fees*
Chapter 13.12   Water System*
Chapter 13.13   Water System Protection Measures*
Chapter 13.14   Water Efficient Landscape
    Appendix A   Maximum Applied Water Allowance
    Appendix B   Hydrozone Table
    Appendix C   Certificate of Completion
Chapter 13.15   Rules Governing the Sale of Electric Energy
Chapter 13.16   Underground Utility Districts*
Chapter 13.20   Drainage Regulations*
Chapter 13.02
Utility Credit/Deposits/Billing/Notices
   13.02.010   Establishment and re-establishment of credit.
   13.02.020   Deposits.
   13.02.030   Return of deposits.
   13.02.040   Rendering of utility billings.
   13.02.050   Reading of separate meters not combined.
   13.02.060   Payment of bills.
   13.02.070   Notices.
   13.02.080   Disputed bills.
   13.02.090   Discontinuance and restoration of service.
   13.02.100   Meter tests and adjustment of bills for meter error.
13.02.010  Establishment and re-establishment of credit.
   A.   Establishment of credit. Each applicant for which utility service is requested from the city shall be required to establish credit with the city in the following manner:
      1.   The applicant shall make a cash deposit with the city to secure the payment of any bills for services to be furnished by the city under the application.
      2.   If an applicant has previously been a consumer of city utilities and has paid all previous bills in a timely manner for a period of three consecutive years immediately prior to the date the applicant previously ceased to take service from the city, provided such service occurred within one year from the date of new application for service, then credit shall be deemed to be established without the requirement of a cash deposit.
      3.   Establishment and re-establishment of credit is more fully described in the city policy "Late Fees and Deposits" which may be modified from time to time.
   B.   Re-establishment of credit.
      1.   An applicant who previously has been a customer of the city and whose utility service has been discontinued by the city because of nonpayment of utility charges or other reasons, shall be required to re-establish credit by paying a deposit, all prior remaining unpaid charges and by paying utility bills when regularly due.
      2.   A customer who fails to pay bills before they become past due shall be required to pay the delinquent portion of said bill and any late charges prescribed by the city.
      3.   Whenever, for nonpayment of utility bills, or for other just reason, the service of any user of city utilities has been severed, the customer will be required to deposit an amount equal to three times the average estimated monthly bill to re-establish credit.
      4.   Re-establishment of credit by a customer who fails to pay bills under this section shall apply to all accounts in the name of the customer, residential or commercial, and to any new accounts which the customer wishes to establish during the period in which the customer is establishing credit. This section applies to tenants as well as property owners.
   C.   Deposit required for utility applicants whose electrical meter seals have been broken or whose water meters have been tampered with in an unauthorized manner.
      1.   Tampering: Whenever, for nonpayment of utility bills, or for other just reason, the service of any user of city utilities has been severed, and the electrical meter seal is removed by persons other than authorized employees of the city, or if the water meter is turned on or tampered with, the person to whom said meter is assigned by account shall not be furnished utility service again within the city without first paying all unpaid utility bills, together with any penalties and charges associated with the meter tampering.
         (a)   The utilities of said applicant shall be shut off until such time as a deposit, amount to be determined by the city, is paid, together with the penalty for meter tampering and any other applicable charges shown in the current city fee schedule (note: if the water and electrical meters to a property are both tampered with, then multiple penalties may apply).
         (b)   If the city finds that the customer continues to tamper with his meter or meters in any effort to secure service which has been discontinued, the city may permanently shut off services until such time as tampering charges and or penalties are paid.  The fees will be set in accordance with the current city fee schedule, which shall be amended by resolution. Tampering charges must be paid before services are reconnected to the property.  In lieu of the tampering penalties, a reconnection charge for either service should apply equal to the cost of reconnecting the services.
      2.   The person or persons to whom water or electric meters are assigned by account shall be liable for said meters in the event that meters under the control of and/or assigned to said applicant are either unsealed or otherwise tampered with. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.020  Deposits.
   A.   The amount of deposit to establish or to re-establish credit for specified city utility users for any combination of city utility services (electric, water, and sewer) shall be established by resolution of the City Council.
   B.   An applicant for a new commercial account may request a review of the amount of the electrical deposit based upon projected differences in the amount of electrical consumption in the structure. Likewise, the City Administrator, or their designee, may determine that the amount of the deposit for a new commercial account should be increased or decrease based upon projected differences in the amount of electrical consumption in the structure which would warrant an increase (or decrease) in the deposit. Such review shall consider changes in intensity of use, hours of operation, installed electrical equipment and other factors which would justify an increase or a decrease in the amount of the deposit. The amount of the deposit for commercial accounts may be modified by the City Administrator.
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.030  Return of deposits.
   A.   When the customer has received continuous service and has paid his utility bills in a timely manner for a period of 36 consecutive months from the inception of services or from the last date of delinquency, the deposit will be returned after that 36-month period of time. No interest will be paid on deposits.
   B.   When a deposit has been collected from a consumer as a result of his service being discontinued for nonpayment of his utility account, said deposit shall be retained by the city until such time as the city, at its discretion, is convinced that said consumer has established a satisfactory credit status with the city, but no sooner than 36 months following the initial date of payment of the full deposit.
   C.   When a consumer who has such a deposit with the city orders his service discontinued, the deposit will be returned unless there are charges due the city for utility services.  In such case, the deposit will be applied to the charges and the excess portion of the deposit, if any, will be returned to the customer. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.040  Rendering of utility billings.
   The city will render utility billings to its customers as follows:
   A.   Billing period. Bills for electric, water, and sewer services will be rendered monthly.
   B.   Metered service.  Bills for metered service will be based on meter registrations.
      1.   Meters will be read as required for the preparation of regular bills, opening bills, closing bills and other reasons deemed necessary by the city.
      2.   It may not be possible to always read meters on the same day of the month, and should a monthly billing period contain less than 27 days or more than 33 days, a pro rata computation in the bill will be made.
   C.   Pro rata computation.
      1.   Except as provided below, all bills for electric service rendered for periods of less than 27 days or more than 33 days on a monthly billing period, will be computed in accordance with the applicable schedule. The size of the energy blocks, and the amount of the customer charge, service charge, demand charge, or minimum charge, specified therein, will be prorated on the basis of the ratio of the number of days in the period to the number of days in an average bimonthly or monthly period, which, for this purpose, shall be taken as 30 days.
      2.   When the total period of service is less than 34 days, no proration will be made, and no bill for such a service period shall be less than the specified monthly customer charge, service charge, demand charge, or minimum charge, except, when temporary service is furnished and the customer has paid the estimated cost of installing and removing the service facilities, proration will be made. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.050  Reading of separate meters not combined.
   For the purpose of billing, each meter upon the customer's premises will be considered separately, and the readings of two or more meters will not be combined except as follows:
   A.   Where combinations of meter readings are specifically provided for in the rate schedule.
   B.   Where the city's operating convenience requires the use of more than one meter.
   C.   A water meter and an electric meter may be included in a consolidated billing. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.060  Payment of bills.
   A.   All bills are due and payable on presentation, and payment should be made at the city's finance office.
   B.   Partial payments do not constitute full payment nor will a partial payment prevent services from being terminated. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.070  Notices.
   A.   Notices to customers. When notices from the city to a customer are required, they will normally be given in writing, either mailed to the customer's mailing address or delivered to him, except that in emergencies, the city may give oral notices.
   B.   Notices from customers. Notices from a customer to the city will be given by written communication mailed to the city's office. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.080  Disputed bills.
   When a customer and the city fail to agree on a bill for electric service and the disputed bill is not paid by the 20th day after the city mails the bill, the city will notify the customer in writing that:
   A.   In lieu of paying the disputed bill, he may deposit with the Finance Department the amount claimed by the city to be due.
   B.   Checks or other forms of remittance acceptable to the city for such deposit should be made payable to the city.
   C.   Upon receipt of the deposit the Finance Department will notify the City Administrator of the disputed bill. The City Administrator will review the disputed bill and make a determination of the disputed amounts.
   D.   Service will not be discontinued for nonpayment of the disputed bill when deposit has been made with the city pending the outcome of the review.
   E.   Failure of the customer to make such deposit within 20 days after the date upon which notice (when the original monthly bill is presented) was given will warrant discontinuance of his service without further notice.
   F.   If before completion of the City Administrator's review, additional bills become due which the customer wishes to dispute, he shall also deposit with the city Finance Department the additional amounts claimed by the city to be due for such bills before they become past due and that failure to do so will warrant discontinuance of this service as provided by this chapter. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.090  Discontinuance and restoration of service.
   A.   Past due bills.  When bills are rendered monthly, they will be considered past due if not paid within 20 days after presentation.
   B.   Nonpayment of bills.
      1.   When a bill for utility service has become past due and a 15-day discontinuance of service notice for nonpayment has been presented, service will be discontinued if the bill is not paid within the time required by such notice. In addition, no less than  48 hours prior to the impending termination the city shall mail a final notice of termination of service.
      2.   A customer's service will be discontinued for nonpayment of a bill for service previously rendered him at any location served by the city provided such bill is not paid within ten days after date of presentation of a notice that present service will be discontinued for nonpayment of such bill for prior service.
      3.   If a customer is receiving more than one service, any or all services may be discontinued when any service, regardless of location, is discontinued for nonpayment.
   C.   Unsafe electrical equipment.
      1.   The city may refuse to provide, or discontinue, service to a customer if any part of his wiring or other equipment, or use thereof, is determined by the city to be unsafe or in violation of applicable laws, ordinances, rules or regulations of the city, or if any condition existing upon the customer's premises is determined to endanger the city's service facilities, until the unsafe conditions are corrected or the violation remedied.
      2.   The city does not assume any responsibility for inspecting or repairing the customer's wiring or other equipment, or any part thereof, and assumes no liability therefore.
   D.   Service detrimental to other customers.  The city will not provide electric service to equipment, the operation of which would prove detrimental to the service of the city or its other customers, and will discontinue electric service to any customer who continues to operate such equipment after having been given notice to cease by the city.
   E.   Fraud. The city may refuse to provide, or discontinue, service if the acts of the customer or the conditions upon his premises indicate intent to defraud the city.
   F.   Failure to establish or re-establish credit. If, for an applicant's convenience, the city should provide service before credit is established or should continue service to a customer when credit has not been re-established in accordance with this chapter, and he fails to establish or re-establish his credit after the date of presentation of a written notice of not less than ten days, the city may discontinue service.
   G.   Noncompliance. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, the city may discontinue service to a customer for noncompliance with fee schedules if, after written notice of at least eight days, he has not complied with the notice. The city may dispense with the giving of such notice in the event of a dangerous condition which makes the immediate discontinuance of service to the premises imperative.
   H.   Customer's request for service discontinuance.
      1.   When a customer desires to terminate his responsibility for service, he shall give the city not less than three day's notice of his intention and state the date on which he wishes the termination to become effective. A customer may be held responsible for all service furnished at the premises until three days after receipt of such notice by the city or until the date of termination specified in the notice, whichever date is later.
      2.   Any request for service discontinuation of less than three days notice will require the application of a call-out charge as specified in the city's fee schedule.
   I.   Returned item charge. If an item (check, electronic bank transfer, money order or other legal tender) tendered in payment of amounts owing the city, is not honored by a bank and is returned to the city unpaid, the city will add to the customer's bill a charge for processing each such returned item in accordance with the current city fee schedule, which schedule may be amended by resolution of City Council. Where service is subject to discontinuance pursuant to this chapter, the fee for the returned check shall be included in the total amount due and payable. Returned checks shall be redeemed in cash, money order or cashier's check. In addition, if more than two checks are returned by the bank for any reason on a single account during a six month period, personal or company checks will no longer be acceptable for payment of utility bills on that account. In addition, personal or company checks will not be accepted for any other utility accounts or other city obligations under the name of the customer for a period of no less than 36 months or until credit is reestablished.
   J.   Notice of service discontinuance charge, final notice charge, 24 hour notice charge and late charges.
      1.   The city will require payment of the notice of service discontinuance charge, the final notice charge, 24 hour notice charge, any late charge and applicable interest charges in accordance with the current city fee schedule, which schedule may be amended by resolution of the City Council.
      2.   The authorized city representative who makes a field call to the customer's premises may not accept payment or make arrangements for payment and must carry out the disconnection order; the customer must contact the Finance Department to make all payments.
   K.   Reconnection charge.
      1.   The city will require payment of a reconnect charge in addition to any and all outstanding charges on the customer's account in accordance with the current city fee schedule, which schedule may be amended by resolution of the City Council, before restoring service that has been discontinued for nonpayment of bills or tampering with city equipment.
      2.   In cases where customers request that service be reconnected outside of regular service hours (after 10:30 a.m. weekdays or anytime on weekends), an additional call-out charge will be applied to the customer's account in accordance with the current city fee schedule.
      3.   In addition, the city may charge and collect any unusual costs incidental to the discontinuance or restoration of service when they have resulted from the customer's action or negligence.
      4.   Service wrongfully terminated will be restored without charge and a notification thereof will be mailed to the customer at the billing address.
   L.   Appeal process.  Inability to pay due to extreme circumstances beyond the control of the customer, and not due to habitual nonpayment of bills, may be grounds for an appeal hearing before the Finance Director.  The Finance Director may, as he/she deems appropriate, receive testimony from the customer and or city staff. The decision of the Finance Director may be appealed to the City Administrator, whose decision is final. The City Administrator may allow additional time for payment and or establish a payment plan for the delinquent customer to become current, or may deny the appeal. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)
13.02.100  Meter tests and adjustment of bills for meter error.
   A.   Tests.
      1.   Prior to installation. Every electrical and water meter will be tested at or prior to the time of installation, and no meter will be placed in service if found to register more than 1% fast or l% slow.
      2.   On customer request.
         (a)   A customer may, with advance notice of not less than one week, request the city to test the meter for his service.
         (b)   No charge will be made for such a test, but, should a customer request a test within 12 months after installation, or more often than once in 12 months, he will be required to pay a deposit in accordance with the city's fee schedule, to pay in part, the cost of the test.  This deposit will be returned if the meter is found to register more than 2% fast or 2% slow.
   B.   Adjustment of bills for meter error.
      1.   Fast meters. When, upon test, any meter is found to be registering more than 2% fast, the city will refund to the customer the amount of the overcharge based on corrected meter readings for the preceding six months, subject to the provisions of paragraph 4. hereof.
      2.   Slow meters. When, upon test, any meter is found to be registering more than 2% slow, the city may bill the customer for the amount of the undercharge based on corrected meter readings for the preceding one year, subject to provisions of paragraph 4. hereof.
      3.   Nonregistering meters.
         (a)   When, upon test, any meter is found to be nonregistering, the city may bill the customer for the estimated amount of electricity and water consumed but not registered for a period of three months, subject to the provisions of paragraph 4. hereof.
         (b)   Bills for this purpose will be estimated from customer's prior use, the customer's subsequent use correctly metered, the city experience with other customers of the same class, and the general characteristics of the customer's operations.
      4.   General. When it is found that the error in a meter is due to identifiable causes, the date of which can be reliably established, the overcharge or the undercharge will be computed back to but not beyond that date, provided, however, that in no case will a bill for undercharge on service schedules be rendered for a period exceeding three years.
   C.   In no event will the request for testing of a meter prevent the termination of services due to non-payment of utility charges. 
(Ord. 785-2009, § 7 (part), 2009)