Pursuant to the requirements of Senate Bill 998, effective January 1, 2020, the Company has adopted a separate Policy on Discontinuation of Residential Water Service for Non-Payment (the “Service Termination Policy”), which is attached to these Rules as Appendix A and is incorporated into these Rules by this reference. To the extent of any inconsistency between the Service Termination Policy and these Rules, the Service Termination Policy shall control.
1.01: DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE
- Quantities: Bellflower – Somerset Mutual Water Company will use its best efforts to supply water dependably and safely in adequate quantities and pressures to meet the reasonable needs and requirements of its customers.
- Responsibility for Loss or Damage: Customers shall accept such conditions of pressure and service as are provided by the Company system, and hold the Company harmless for any loss or damage to customers resulting from the Company’s failure to meet the service goals stated within this section, or due to any interruptions in service.
1.02: CONDITIONS OF SERVICE AND RIGHTS OF THE COMPANY AND CUSTOMERS
- Notice to Customers: Notice to a customer will normally be in writing and will be delivered or mailed to the customer’s last known address. In emergencies or similar circumstances, the Company may give verbal notice either in person, by email (if the customer consents) or by telephone, or by leaving a written notice on the door.
- Notice from Customers: A customer may give the Company notice in person, by telephone, by e-mail (with confirmation or receipt by telephone or return e-mail from the Company) or by letter to the Company at its office, located at 10016 Flower Street, Bellflower, CA 90706; provided, however, that some notices, as specified elsewhere in these Rules and Regulations, must be in writing.
- Interruptions and Shortages in Service: The Company expressly reserves the right to interrupt service when necessary to repair, maintain or install water lines, meters and other facilities, and restrict, allocate or apportion Company water supplies as necessary.
- Emergency Interruptions: The Company will make all reasonable efforts to prevent service interruptions and, when an interruption occurs, will make an effort to re-establish service as soon as possible, consistent with the safety of the Company’s customers and the general public.
Where an emergency interruption of service affects service to any fire hydrant or other public fire protection device, the Company will promptly endeavor to notify the appropriate public officials responsible for fire protection of the interruption and of subsequent restoration of normal service.
- Scheduled Interruptions: Whenever the Company finds it necessary to schedule a service interruption, it will, where feasible, notify all affected customers of the approximate time and anticipated duration of the interruption. Planned interruptions will be scheduled to minimize inconvenience to customers whenever possible.
Where the scheduled interruption will affect service to any fire hydrants or other fire protection devices, the Company will also notify the appropriate public officials responsible for fire protection of the interruption and when service is restored.
- Apportionment of Supply During Times of Shortage: During times of water shortage, but subject to any contrary provisions of the Company’s Bylaws, the Company will apportion its available water supply among its customers as directed by the appropriate authorities. If no direction is given by such authorities, the Company will apportion the supply in accordance with the Company’s Bylaws as fairly as possible under the circumstances, and with due regard to public health and safety.
- Ownership of Facilities on Customer’s Premises: The service lateral, meter, and meter box, regardless of whether furnished at the customer’s expense, whether located wholly or partially upon a customer’s premises, are the property of the Company. No rent or other charge will be paid by the Company where the Company-owned service facilities are located on a customer’s premises.
- Company Access to Customer’s Premises: The Company shall have access to a customer’s property during reasonable hours for the installation, maintenance, operation or removal of the Company’s service lateral, meter, meter box or other equipment located on the property, and for the reading of any meter situated on that property. The customer’s system may be inspected at all reasonable times by authorized Company representatives.
- Service Calls (Civil Code ‘ 1722): Where access to the customer’s premises for maintenance or other service is required and the customer must be present for such service call, the Company will offer to schedule the service call during a 4-hour period. Where unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances prevent the Company from making the service call, the Company will make a diligent effort to notify the customer of the delay and then make the service call within a newly agreed 2-hour period. If the customer fails to honor the service call appointment, the Company may assess a $75.00 fee to the customer’s next water bill for the costs incurred by the Company.
- Company Not Responsible for Damage or Loss to Customer: The Company will not be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the installation, maintenance, operation or use of any appliances or other equipment by the customer; nor for any damage to persons or property resulting from the maintenance or repair of Company facilities or of the Company’s water distribution and water supply systems, where the Company has not been negligent or engaged in willful misconduct in connection with such maintenance or repair; nor for any damage to persons or property caused by escape or leakage due to conditions on the customer’s property, by failure or defects of pipes, or by high or low pressure or flow.
- Customer’s Responsibility for Company Property: The customer will be charged for damage to the Company’s meters, equipment, facilities and other property resulting from the use or operation of appliances or other equipment on customer’s premises, or otherwise due to customer’s negligence or willful conduct, including, but not limited to, cutting or othemise tampering with any lock or other mechanism placed on a meter by the Company to prevent use of water through that meter. Customers should promptly notify the Company in the event of a leak or other problem with the water system. All damage which, after investigation by the Company, is determined to be the responsibility of the customer will also be billed to the property owner.
1.03: RATES AND CHARGES
- General Provisions: Rates and charges for water use and other miscellaneous charges are set by the Board from time to time. The Company’s bi-monthly “ready to serve” or meter charge is imposed upon a property even at such times when that property is not currently receiving water service from the Company. Current rates and charges are available in the Company offices and on the Company’s website. Although water bills will upon request be mailed to tenants or persons other than the property owner, under the Company Bylaws, the property owner is ultimately responsible for payment of all fees, charges and assessments.
- Miscellaneous Charges: In order to recover the cost associated with late payments, disconnections and other problems encountered by the Company, the following items will be charged to customers as shown:
- Late Charge: If the bill is not paid by the Due Date (as defined in Section
1.04(E)) and an Overdue Notice (as defined in the Service Termination Policy) is mailed, the customer shall pay a late charge in the amount of $40.00, in addition to any other charges that may be due, any advance payments required, or any other conditions established by the Company.
- Reconnection Charge: Where water service has been terminated, whether for non-payment or for other violation of Company rules or policies, the customer will be charged $50.00 to cover the expense of visiting the premises to either terminate or reconnect service if the termination or reconnection occurs during the Company’s normal business hours (i.e., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) and $150.00 if the termination or reconnection occurs after the Company’s normal business hours. The foregoing termination or reconnection charge must be paid before service will be restored. Any reconnection charge shall be limited as specified in the Service Termination Policy.
- Returned Check Charge: When a customer’s check is returned as non-negotiable for any reason, the Company will issue a Notice of Termination of water service (see Rule 1.04.G.5. below) warning the customer that service will be turned off on the date set forth in the Notice and that the customer will be charged $35.00 for the returned check. Unless all charges due, including the Returned Check Charge, are paid in cash or other certified funds by the date in the Notice of Termination, water service will be terminated thereafter. If the returned check was tendered as payment after the customer’s service was terminated for non-payment, no Notice of Termination will be given, and service will immediately be terminated. When a second check is not honored by the bank within a year of the first check being returned, service will immediately be terminated without notice to the customer and will not be restored until all charges, fees and deposits have been paid by cash, money order, cashier’s check, or other certified funds at the Company office. The customer shall for one year thereafter be required to pay all charges and fees in cash or certified funds.
- Meter Test Charge: The Company makes every effort to keep its meters in good condition and registering accurately. Any customer may request that their meter be examined and tested to see if it is working correctly, provided they agree to deposit $70.00 to cover a portion of the cost to the Company for testing the meter. Requests to have a meter tested must be in writing and accompanied by the deposit. For customer convenience, request forms are available at the Company office.
Upon receipt of a meter test request and deposit, Company personnel will arrange to have the meter examined and tested. If the meter is found to register either more than, or less than, two percent of the amount of water that actually passes through it, the meter will be properly adjusted or another meter installed, the deposit will be returned to the customer and the water bill for the current period will be adjusted accordingly.
If the meter is found to register within two percent of accurate, the customer’s deposit will be forfeited and the actual costs the Company incurs in connection with such meter test will be paid by the property owner.
- Pulled Meter Charge: If a customer’s service has been disconnected and the meter has been “pulled” or removed from the premises, then the customer, or any succeeding property owner who desires to reestablish service to that property, must pay a pulled meter charge of $500.00 to cover administrative and personnel expenses incurred by the Company in pulling and reinstalling the meter, before the service and meter will be reconnected. The fact that a meter has been “pulled” from a location will not nullify the Company’s “ready to serve” or meter charge applicable to that property. Any pulled meter charge that is imposed as a condition to restore water service to a residential account that had previously been terminated for non-payment shall be limited as specified in the Service Termination
- Unauthorized Water Use: Any customer or shareholder found taking water from or through any of the Company’s facilities without having signed up for service or other Company authorization (including if said customer or shareholder takes such water as a result of cutting or otherwise tampering with any lock or other mechanism placed by the Company on a meter to prevent use of water through that meter) will be assessed a fine up to $500.00, as determined by the Company’s Executive Director, payable to the Company, in addition to any charges for the quantity of water taken and for the damage done to any Company property, equipment or facilities. In addition, the Company reserves the right to seek criminal prosecution under California Penal Code Sections 624 and 625 for such unauthorized water use. Written notice of the assessment of such fine shall be given by personal service or by registered or certified mail.
- Charge for Turn Off at Main: If water service to a property is turned on more than once without Company authorization, the service may be shut off at the main, and the customer shall be required to pay, in addition to any other applicable charges, a charge equal to the actual expense to the Company of reconnection prior to the re-establishment of service.
- Charge for Turn Off/Turn On at Customer’s Convenience: There will be a charge of $35.00 applied to the account for shut offs during normal working hours ( 8:00AM-4:30PM). A charge of $75.00 will be added during non working hours.The Company shall have the discretion to waive that charge where the request is the result of an emergency.
- Color, Taste or Other Characteristic Complaints.
- The Company uses its best efforts to provide its customers with the best quality water possible. However, due to the nature of water distribution systems, from time to time Company customers may experience problems with color, taste or other characteristics of water the Company provides. The Company encourages its customers to notify it of any such problems that are observed or experienced.
1.04: BILLING PROCEDURES
- Joint Service: No joint service is allowed. The property owner is solely liable for payment of bills, unless authorization is provided to mail the bills to a tenant or other occupant of the property owner’s property. In that case each party is separately and independently responsible for payment of bills, but the property owner/ shareholder remains ultimately responsible for payment of the Company’s bills.
- Re-establishment of Credit: A customer whose service has been discontinued for nonpayment of bills will be required to pay any unpaid balance due for the premises to which service is to be restored and will also be required to pay both the late charge as prescribed in Rule 1.03.B.1, and the reconnection charge as prescribed in Rule 1.03.B.3 before service is restored.
- Bankruptcy of Customer: Pursuant to the Bankruptcy Act (P.L. 95-598, as amended from time to time), the Company cannot refuse or discontinue service to, or discriminate against, a customer, or a trustee of a customer, due to a debt owed for water service at the time of the order for relief. The customer must immediately provide the Company with a copy of any applicable order for relief. The Company is entitled to discontinue service if neither the customer, nor the bankruptcy trustee, within 20 days after the date of the order for relief, furnishes a deposit for service after such date. The deposit shall be the highest of the last 6 billings rendered to the property prior to the order for relief. Service may be discontinued in accordance with the rules of the Company upon non-payment for service after the order of relief.
- Refund of Deposit: When water service is discontinued, the Company will refund the balance of any deposit held for that service in excess of any unpaid bills. Refunds will be made within a reasonable period of time.
- Rendering and Payment of Bills: Bills for service are rendered on a bi-monthly basis. Bills for service are due and payable upon presentation (i.e., the date of the bill) (the “Due Date”). If the bill is not paid by forty-five (45) days after the Due Date, a late charge in the amount of $40.00 will be assessed and added to the customer’ s account. Payment must be made at the office of the Company, and it is the customer’s responsibility to assure that payments are received at the Company’s office in a timely manner. Collection of closing bills may be made at the time of presentation.
- Separate Billings for Each Meter: Each meter on a customer’s premises will be read and billed separately, except as may otherwise be specified by the Company, or where the Company’s operating convenience or necessity may require the use of more than one meter.
- Delinquent Bills: The following rules apply to customers whose bills remain unpaid by the due date.
- Small Balance Accounts: If less than a $60.00 minimum bill remains unpaid, it may be carried over to the next billing period as the Company deems appropriate.
- Overdue Notice: If payment for a billing period is not made on or before the forty fifth (45) day after the Due Date, an Overdue Notice will be mailed to the customer at least seven (7) business days prior to actual disconnection. The Overdue Notice will include a $40.00 late charge.
- Turn-Off Deadline: Water service charges and late charges must be paid by 4:00
p.m. on the day specified in the Overdue Notice.
- Contents of Overdue Notice. The Overdue Notice will include the following information:
- Customer’s name and address;
- Amount past due;
- Date by which payment or an arrangement for payment must be made
(termination date) in order to avoid termination;
- Description of the process to apply for an extension of time to pay the amount owing;
- Description of the procedure to petition for review and appeal of the bill giving rise to the delinquency;
- Description of the procedure by which the customer can request a deferred, amortized, reduced or alternative payment schedule in accordance with the Service Termination Policy; and
- Telephone number of a Company representative who can provide additional information.
- Notification of Returned Check-Disposition: Upon receipt of a returned check tendered in payment of water service or other charges, the account will be considered unpaid. The Company will make a reasonable, good-faith effort to notify the customer in person and leave a Termination Notice at the premises advising the customer that service will be turned off because of the returned check.
Water service will be disconnected unless both the amount of the returned check and the returned check charge are paid in cash, money order, cashier’s check or certified funds, before the date set forth in the notice for turning off the service.
- Returned Check Tendered to Restore Service: If the customer tenders a returned check as payment to restore water service disconnected for non-payment, and as a result the Company restores service, the Company may again promptly disconnect service without providing further notice. No Termination Notice will be given in the case of a returned check tendered for payment of water service that was subject to discontinuance.
- Returned Checks – Money orders or Certified checks Required: Any customer issuing a non-negotiable check for payment to restore service turned off for non-payment, will be required to pay, for one year, money order or certified funds to have service restored if such service is turned off again within this time period for non-payment.
- Disputed Bills: See “Article IV — Appeals” of the Service Termination Policy for the appeals process applicable to residential accounts. The following provisions apply to any commercial or industrial account. If the customer disputes the charges in their bill or feels that the bill is not correct, the customer can file a complaint or request an investigatiaon. The following procedure must be used:
- Within five (5) days after receiving their bill for water service, the customer may initiate a complaint or request an investigation regarding any bill tendered by the Company. Such protest shall be made in writing and delivered to the Company at its office.
- After the complaint or request for an investigation is received, an office appointment will be arranged between the customer and a representative of the Company, to review the complaint or request, and get any other information or documents the customer may have that will assist the Company in deciding on the complaint or request. After considering the evidence provided by the customer and the information on file with the Company, the Company representative shall issue a brief summary of their decision as to the accuracy of the bill.
- If water charges are found to be incorrect, a corrected invoice will be provided and is payable by its due date or within ten (10) days after receipt, whichever comes later. If the revised charges remain unpaid after the ten (10) days, water service will be terminated on the next working day. Water service will be restored only after all outstanding water charges and all applicable reconnection charges are paid in full.
- If the water charges are found to be correct, the water charges are due and payable by the original due date, or if the original due date has passed, at the time the Company representative issues the decision. If the charges are not then timely paid, termination will be scheduled at close of business two working days after the customer receives the decision.
- When the decision of the appointed representative is given, the customer will also be advised of their right to further appeal before the Board. However, all charges determined to be due must be paid as prescribed above, whether or not the customer intends to appeal.
- If the customer disputes the decision rendered by the Company’ s representative, they may request a hearing before the Board of Directors.
- Water service may not be terminated until the investigation is completed and the customer has been notified of the Company’s decision.
- A hearing before the Board must be requested in writing and delivered to the Company. The customer shall present evidence and reasons as to why the water charges in question are not accurate. The Board shall evaluate the evidence presented by the customer, as well as information on file with the Company concerning the water charges in question, and render a decision as to the accuracy of said charges. The Board’s decision is final and binding.
- If the Board determines that the customer was undercharged, the appropriate additional charges may be billed and payment is then due ten (10) days after receipt. If the bill is not paid in ten (10) days, water service will be terminated on the next working day. At the Company’s option, any overcharges will be reflected as a credit on the next regular bill or refunded directly to the customer. Service will be restored only after all outstanding water charges and any and all applicable reconnection charges are paid in full.
- If the Board finds that the water charges in question are correct, the decision of the appointed representative will stand.
Adjustment of Bills for Meter Error: The customer may request a billing adjustment because of meter error. Such a request must be made in writing and Rule 1.03.B.5.
will apply. The meter will be tested in an “as found” condition, in order to determine the average meter error. If the average meter error is found to exceed 2 percent [if the quantity of water recorded by the meter measures below 98 percent or above 102 percent of the actual quantity of water passing through the meter], the following billing adjustments will be made:
- Fast Meters: The Company will refund the estimated amount of the overcharge for the period the meter was determined to be incorrect, not to exceed three (3) billing cycles.
- Slow Meters: The Company, at its option, may bill the customer for the amount of the undercharge for the period the meter was in service and determined to be incorrect, not to exceed three (3) billing cycles.
- Non-Registering Meters: The Company may bill the customer according to an estimate of water consumed while the meter was not registering, not to exceed three (3) billing cycles. This estimate will be based on the customer’s prior use during the same period the prior year, or on a reasonable comparison with similar customers during the same period.
- Amortization of Unpaid Balance See “Article III Alternative Payment Arrangements” of the Service Termination Policy for the process for alternative payment arrangements applicable to residential accounts. The following provisions apply to any commercial or industrial account.
- Requirements for Amortization: On certification of a licensed physician that to terminate service would be life threatening to the customer and where that customer is financially unable to pay for service within the normal payment period and is willing to enter into an amortization agreement with the Company with respect to all charges that the customer is unable to pay prior to delinquency, the Company will arrange for a payment plan described in subdivision 2, below relative to all delinquent amounts.
- Amortization Payment Plan: Under the circumstances set forth in subdivision 1, above, a repayment agreement will be entered into between the Company and the customer, amortizing the unpaid delinquent amounts over a period not to exceed 12 months, with payments added to the customer’s regular bill. The customer will be charged an administrative fee of $15.00 each billing cycle to cover the cost of administering the plan.
- Compliance with Plan: The customer must make payments on time as they come due under the plan, in addition to paying current water charges. The customer may not request another amortization plan until all past due charges have been paid. Failure to make timely payments under the plan will result in 48-hour Termination Notice. (See Rule 1.03.2 above)
1.05: TURN ON AND TURN OFF PROCEDURES AND CHARGES
- Turn-off at the Customer’s Request: Subject to the charges set forth in Rule
1.03.B.9, above, a customer may request that service be discontinued either temporarily or permanently. Such a request may be made telephonically, in which case the customer must provide his or her account number to the Company representative with whom he or she is speaking, or may be personally made at the Company’s office in writing, in which case the customer making the request must present picture identification and their most recent water bill as proof that the customer is the person to whom service is delivered, or other proof of ownership of the subject property. Requests to discontinue service must be made at least one working day in advance of the day on which the discontinuance is desired; provided, however, that the Company may waive such prior notice and the other requirements of this rule in case of an emergency. The customer requesting the discontinuance must give notice of the impending discontinuance of water service to any tenants, in the case of a single family residence and to each rental unit, in the case of a multi-unit structure. The
Company reserves the right to delay termination of service at the customer’s request (during which time the customer shall remain liable for all charges resulting from the continued service) if there are tenants residing at the subject property who would be adversely impacted by the requested termination of service and no such prior notice was provided to those tenants. The customer or a designated representative of the customer must be present at the subject property at the time the Company discontinues water service to that property.
If one working days’ notice is not given, the customer will be billed for service until one working day after the Company has received appropriate notice that the customer has vacated the premises or otherwise has discontinued service.
- Turn-off by the Company: The Company may disconnect a customer’s service for various reasons which are listed below. Such involuntary disconnections are effected by turning off and locking the meter, thereby stopping the water service. The fact that water service to a property has been stopped will not result in the Company not imposing its “ready to serve” or meter charge on that property. The Company will make a reasonable attempt to notify the customer of disconnection in person, or will place a Termination Notice on the premises served by the disconnected meter at least 48 hours prior to termination. Reasons for involuntary disconnection include, but are not limited to, the following:
- For Non-Payment of Bills: A service may be disconnected for non-payment of periodic bills. Before a service is disconnected, the customer will be notified by Overdue Notice as provided in Rule 1.04.G, above.
- For Non-Compliance with Rules: The Company may terminate service to any customer for violation of Company rules after the customer has been notified of the problem or violation, and has not complied with such rules or cured any breach resulting from such non-compliance within seven (7) days after receiving notice from the Company of such non-compliance and/or any resulting breach. Where the safety of water supply is endangered, service may be discontinued immediately without notice.
- For Waste of Water: In order to protect itself and its customers against willful or negligent waste or misuse of water, the Company may disconnect service if the waste or misuse has not been corrected within five (5) days after written notice to the customer. Written notice shall be given by personal service or by registered or certified mail. Upon failure of the customer to correct those wasteful practices set forth in the five-day notice, the customer’s water service shall be terminated. Service will be restored only after the wasteful practice has been remedied, and the customer has paid the usual reconnection charge.
- For Unsafe or Hazardous Conditions: The Company may disconnect a service without notice if unsafe or hazardous conditions are found to exist on the customer’s premises. The Company will immediately notify the customer of the reasons and the necessary corrections required before reconnection. An unsafe or hazardous condition may exist due to defective appliances or equipment that may be detrimental to either the customer, the Company, or to the Company’s other customers.
- For Fraudulent Use of Service: When the Company has discovered that a customer has obtained service by fraudulent means, or has diverted the water service for unauthorized use, service to that customer may be discontinued without notice. The Company will not restore service until the customer has complied with all applicable rules and reasonable requirements of the Company and the Company has been reimbursed for the full amount of the service rendered, the actual cost to the Company incurred by reason of the fraudulent use, including any damage done to Company, property, equipment or facilities, and any fine imposed by the Company under Rule 1.03.B.7, above.
- Restoration of Service: In order to resume or continue service that has been disconnected, the customer must pay a reconnection charge under Rule 1.03.B.3. The Company will make an effort to reconnect service as soon as practicable, to suit the customer’s convenience. In all events, service will be reconnected before the end of the next regular working day following the customer’s request and payment of any charges then due. The customer requesting the restoration of service must give notice of the impending restoration to any tenants in the case of a single family residence and to each rental unit in the case of a multi-unit structure. The customer or a designated representative of the customer must be present at the subject property at the time the Company restores water service to that property.
- Restoration of Service: Customer Shut-Off Valves. The Company has found that in some circumstances, customers do not have proper shut-off valves installed at their property. This has resulted in multiple calls to the Company to turn-off and then restore water service at the meter valve, which results in additional wear and tear on the meter valve and damages the meter valve. In the event the Company, at the customer’s request, has restored water service two times at a property lacking installation of proper shut-off valves situated on the customer’s side of the Company’s meter, the Company will not subsequently restore such service until a suitable shut-off valve has been properly installed, as the Company shall determine in its sole discretion and a $35.00 per call out fee will apply, after hours, the fee per call out is $75.00.
Rule 2: RULES APPLICABLE TO INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS FOR WATER SERVICE
2.01: USE OF AN ACTIVE SERVICE BY NEW TENANT/OWNER: A person who takes possession of premises and uses water without applying for water service is liable for all water delivered from the date of the last recorded meter reading. If the meter is found inoperative, the quantity consumed will be estimated. If proper application for service is not made within 48 hours after notification to do so, or if accumulated bills are not paid upon presentation, water service shall be discontinued without further notice.
2.02: APPLICATION FOR SERVICE: Each applicant for service is required to provide copies of the documents set forth below and sign, on a form prescribed by the Company (see Appendix A), an application setting forth the following contents and limited to the purpose stated below.
- Applicant name.
- Date of application.
- Applicant’s home and office telephone numbers.
- Address to which bills are to be mailed or delivered.
- Address of the premises to be served.
- Date applicant will be ready for service.
- Agreement to abide by Company Rules and Regulations.
- Purpose for which service is to be used (i.e., residential, commercial, etc.
- Whether applicant is owner, tenant or agent for the premises.
- A copy of the deed vesting title in the owner and a $55.00 non-refundable Stock Transfer fee.
- If tenant – owner’s name, address and telephone number.
- Agreement to assume any outstanding water charges for property where service is requested.
- Such other information as the Company may reasonably require.
- Residential Rental Property: Applications for water service to residential rental property require service to be provided on account of the property owner’s share/shares in the Company, except as provided in the Service Termination Policy.
Therefore the Company will hold the property owner ultimately responsible for payment.
- Purpose: The application is merely a written request for service and does not bind the applicant to take service for a period of time longer than that upon which the minimum charge is based; neither does it bind the Company to serve, except under reasonable conditions and upon the approval of the Executive Director.
2.03: DEPOSITS: The customer will be required to deposit with the Company such an amount estimated to equal the highest of the last 6 billings to the property.
2.04: REFUSAL TO SERVE: The Company may refuse to serve an applicant for service under the following conditions:
- Conditions for Refusal:
- Failure to properly transfer shares of stock in accordance with the Bylaws of the Company, and as set forth in these Rules and Regulations.
- If the applicant fails to comply with any of the rules and regulations contained herein, including applicant’s failure to properly complete the application required under Rule 2.02, above, or failure to provide a copy of a deed or suitable document evidencing applicant’s ownership of the property for which service is requested.
- If the intended use of the service is of such a nature that it will be detrimental or injurious to existing customers.
- If, in the judgment of the Company, the applicant’s installation for utilizing the service is unsafe or hazardous, or of such nature that satisfactory service cannot be rendered, or exceeds the normal capacity of the meter service.
- Where service has been discontinued for fraudulent use, the Company will not serve an applicant until it has determined that all conditions of fraudulent use or practice have been corrected.
- Notification to Applicant: When an applicant is refused service under the provisions of this rule, the Company will notify the applicant promptly of the reason for the refusal to serve and of the right of applicant to appeal that decision to the Board.
2.05: WATER SERVICE CONNECTIONS: For those premises that do not have an existing service connection, the applicant will be charged for the actual material and labor costs incurred by the Company in installing the service connection.
- Size: Subject to the requirements of any governmental agency, including the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Company reserves the right to determine the size of the service connection, the service pipe and water meter and the type of any backflow prevention device or other appurtenance required for the installation.
- Location: So long as practicable, service will be installed at locations designated by the applicant, but only at curb and/or property lines of the property to be served abutting upon a public street, highway, alley, lane, or road in which a water main of the Company is installed.
- Looped Metered Connections: Service provided to a location that has its own distribution system that is looped and connected to Company facilities by two (2) or more meters shall be provided with an approved type backflow prevention device (RP) immediately downstream of each metered connection within 90 days. The Company shall approve the location of all backflow devices.
- Changes in Service Connection/Meter Size: Payment of all applicable additional charges will be required upon the happening of any of the following:
- The alteration or increase in size of a service connection.
- The service of any area, adjacent property, or property of different ownership not served at the time of the original commencement of service.
- 3. The increase of use by reason of land zoning reclassification or actual land use.
In instances where such additional charges are due, credit may be allowed for any such previous payments made by either the applicant, owner, or their predecessors. The size of any meter service and/or the area it serves, or the property’s zoning classification or actual use, shall be determined by the Executive Director. Subject to an appeal to the Board, such determination by the Executive Director will be final. If the Executive Director’s determination is appealed to the Board of Directors, the Board’s determination will be final.
- Limitations on Use of Service Connections:
- Number of Units and Land Area. The Company reserves the right to designate the type of meter, limit the number of buildings, separate houses, living or business quarters, and the area of land under one ownership to be supplied.
- After Subdivision. When property provided with a service connection is subdivided, the service connection shall be considered as belonging to the lot or parcel of land which it directly enters.
- Supplying to Other Property. No service connection shall be used to supply adjoining property belonging to a different owner, or adjoining property acquired by the original applicant or owner subsequent to installation of the original service connection, or to supply property of the same owner on opposite sides of a public street or alley.
- Supplying Outside Company. No service connection will be used to supply water to property outside the Company service area.
- Master Meters. No master meters will be authorized for a multi-user development. All tenants or owners receiving water service in any individual apartment, condominium, townhome or other unit of a multi-unit development shall have a separate meter for each such unit.
2.06: PROVISION OF SERVICE: Except as provided in the Service Termination Policy, the Company shall not be obligated to provide water service to any applicant for water service until after any and all fees, charges and past due assessments owing to the Company and associated with the property seeking water service shall have been paid in full, and the stock appurtenant to the property has been properly transferred on the books of the Company.
2.07: CROSS CONNECTION CONTROL PROGRAM:
- Purpose: A backflow prevention device is a means or device which prevents pollutants and contaminants from backflowing into a public water system, such as that operated by the Company.
- Authority: Because backflows can contaminate the drinking water in the public water system, California Code of Regulation, Title 17, requires each water supplier to protect its public water supply from contamination by implementing a state-approved cross-connection control program. To protect the public health of all of the Company’s drinking water customers and to ensure the drinking water quality in the Company’s system is safe, the Company has a vigorous Cross-Connection Control Program.
- Program: The Company Cross-Connection Control Program requires all new service connections and certain existing service connections to install an approved backflow prevention device. Examples of some of the existing service connections that require backflow prevention devices are listed below.
- Premises with an auxiliary water supply, such as a private well
- Premises with more than one service connection
- All fire services
- All non-residential services which have a water meter installed.
All addresses identified as those which may require installation of a backflow prevention device will be placed on a priority list and installation notices will be issued as time warrants.
- Enforcement: The California Code of Regulation, Title 17, requires that if any such backflow prevention device is not tested at least once annually, the local water supplier must discontinue water service to the device. Therefore, in the event a customer fails to comply with any notice of such annual testing that is provided by the Company, the Company shall terminate water service to that customer’s property in accordance with the provisions of these Rules and Regulations.
- Assessment: To cover the cost of operating and administering the state- required Cross Connection Control Program, the Company shall impose an assessment (currently $115.00 per year) each year on each backflow prevention device that a customer is required to have installed at the customer’s property. That assessment will be billed and collected by dividing the assessment amount among the Company’s six (6) annual water bills, with a prorated amount of the total assessment amount being billed on each of those bills.
Rule 3: RULES APPLICABLE TO DEVELOPER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
3.01: DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS:
- Water Service Agreement: Any person who desires to undertake a new construction project within the Company’s boundaries that results in new or upgraded water service, including upgraded fire service (such person is referred to herein as the “Developer”), shall enter into a Water Service Agreement with the Company in the form attached to these Rules and Regulations as Appendix B. All work necessary to provide water service to such project, including, but not limited, design, planning, construction and inspection, and any engineering, legal or other consulting fees the Company incurs that are reasonably related to that project, shall be at the Developer’s expense.
- Review and Design: Upon execution of the Water Supply Agreement, the Developer shall place a deposit with the Company as determined by the Company’s Executive Director to cover the cost of the Company’s Engineer to review necessary information regarding the project; if necessary, meet with the Developer and/or the Developer’s engineer; and design the water system improvements necessary for that project. The Company’s review and design fees paid under this paragraph shall be separate from any plan review or plan checking fees required by the City of Bellflower or any other governmental entity.
- Preferred Contractors: Under the terms of the Water Service Agreement, the Company will solicit no less than three quotes for the water system improvements necessary for any new construction projects from contractors on the Company’s approved contractor list who hold all necessary licenses (i.e., either a Class A General Engineering License and/or a Class C-34 Pipeline Contractor License) and who have previously performed satisfactory work for the Company or for other local water suppliers. That contractor shall have in place all insurance reasonably required by the Company. The Company shall award the necessary construction work to the contractor that is the lowest responsible and responsive bidder. The Company shall manage the construction work and coordinate the contractor’s work on the new construction project with the Developer. Throughout the progress of the construction, the Company shall inform the Developer of any necessary change orders that are agreed upon and the Developer shall, within two (2) business days of receiving a written request from the Company for any additional monies, deposit with the Company any additional monies to cover any increased costs resulting from any such change order.
- Inspection of Construction of Water System Improvements: The Company shall inspect only the water system works completed by the contractor selected pursuant to subparagraph C, above, and as specified in the Water Service Agreement, and shall charge the Developer the fees described in subparagraph E, below.
- Inspection and Construction Fees: At the time the plans and specifications are completed by the Company’s Engineer, the Developer shall deposit with the Company an amount determined by the Company’s Executive Director, in his or her reasonable discretion, to be sufficient to cover all staff time, inspection, outside engineering and construction costs incurred in the work to be performed under this Section 3.01. If the amount deposited exceeds the actual costs incurred by the Company in connection with such inspection and construction, the excess shall be returned to the Developer within thirty (30) calendar days
of the date the Company finally determines the amount of its actual costs. If the actual costs incurred by the Company in connection with the inspection, engineering and construction exceeds the amount deposited by the Developer, the Developer shall be responsible for payment of such excess costs within thirty (30) days of the date of invoice from the Company setting forth such excess costs. Water service will not commence before any such excess costs are paid in full. The Company’s inspection, engineering and construction of the water system work, and any fees paid, under this paragraph shall be separate from any inspection, inspection fees or permits required by the City of Bellflower or any other governmental entity.
- Upon completion of the water system improvements, those improvements shall be transferred to the Company via a bill of sale or other documentation to memorialize the incorporation of those improvements into the Company’s water distribution system.
3.02: ACQUISITION OF WATER RIGHTS:
If the Company determines that the new construction project will result in increased demand for water to be provided by the Company in relation to the historical use of the property involved in that project, such that the Company would therefore be required to use additional Allowed Pumping Allocation under the Central Basin Judgmentl to provide water service to that project, the Developer shall pay for the acquisition of such Allowed Pumping Allocation at the current fair market value for such Allowed Pumping Allocation, or as otherwise determined by the Company.
3.03 EASEMENTS: Developer shall provide the Company with all easements required for the Company to provide water service to Developer’s project.
Under the Central Basin Judgment, each water producer in the area overlying the Central Basin groundwater basin is granted a certain amount of groundwater rights (called “Allowed Pumping Allocation”) which the groundwater producer can extract from the basin each year. If the producer’s extractions exceed its Allowed Pumping Allocation, it must obtain additional groundwater rights for such excess production.
POLICY ON DISCONTINUATION OF RESIDENTIAL WATER SERVICE FOR NON-PAYMENT
Notwithstanding any other policy or rule, this Policy on Discontinuation of Residential Water Service for Non-Payment shall apply to the discontinuation of residential water service for non-payment under the provisions set forth herein. In the event of any conflict between this Policy and any other policy or rule, this Policy shall prevail.
- Application of Policy: Contact Telephone Number: This policy shall apply only to residential water service for non-payment and all existing policies and procedures shall continue to apply to commercial and industrial water service accounts. Further assistance concerning the payment of water bills and the potential establishment of the alternatives set forth in this policy to avoid discontinuation of service can be obtained by calling (562) 866-9980.
- Discontinuation of Residential Water Service for Non-Payment:
- Rendering and Payment of Bills: Bills for water service will be rendered to each consumer on a monthly basis unless otherwise provided for in the rate schedules. Bills for service are due and payable upon presentation and become overdue and subject to discontinuation of service if not paid within sixty (60) days from the date of the bill. Payment may be made in the drop box at the company office or by visiting the company web site for on line or phone payments. However, it is the consumer’s responsibility to assure that payments are received at the specified location in a timely manner. Partial payments are not authorized unless prior approval has been received. Bills will be computed as follows:
- Meters will be read at regular intervals for the preparation of periodic bills and as required for the preparation of opening bills, closing bills, and special bills.
- Bills for metered service will show the meter reading for the current and previous meter reading period for which the bill is rendered, the number of units, date, and days of service for the current meter reading.
3. Billings shall be paid in legal tender of the United States of America. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Supplier shall have the right to refuse any payment of such billings in coin.
- Overdue Bills: The following rules apply to consumers whose bills remain unpaid for more than sixty (60) days following the invoice date:
- Overdue Notice: If payment for a bill rendered is not made on or before the forty-fifth (45th) day following the invoice date, a notice of overdue payment (the “Overdue Notice”) will be mailed to the water service customer at least seven (7) business days prior to the possible discontinuation of service date identified in the Overdue Notice. For purposes of this policy, the term “business days” shall refer to any days on which the Supplier’s office is open for business. If the consumer’s address is not the address of the property to which the service is provided, the Overdue Notice must also be sent to the address of the property served, addressed to “Occupant.” The Overdue Notice must contain the following:
- Consumer’s name and address;
- Amount of delinquency;
- Date by which payment or arrangement for payment must be made in order to avoid discontinuation of service;
- Description of the process to apply for an extension of time to pay the amount owing (see Section Ill(D), below);
- Description of the procedure to petition for review and appeal of the bill giving rise to the delinquency (see Section IV, below); and
- Description of the procedure by which the consumer can request a plan for defened, amortized, reduced or alternative payment schedule (see Section Ill, below).
The Supplier may alternatively provide notice to the consumer of the impending discontinuation of service by telephone. If that notice is provided by telephone, the Supplier shall offer to provide the consumer with a copy of this policy and also offer to discuss with the consumer the options for alternative payments, as described in Section Ill, below, and the procedures for review and appeal of the consumer’s bill, as described in Section IV, below.
- Unable to Contact Consumer: If the Supplier is not able to contact the consumer by written notice (e.g., a mailed notice is returned as undeliverable) or by telephone, the Supplier will make a good faith effort to visit the residence and leave, or make other arrangements to place in a conspicuous location, a notice of imminent discontinuation of service for non-payment, and a copy of this Policy.
- Late Charge: A Late Charge, as specified in the Supplier’s schedule of fees and charges, shall be assessed and added to the outstanding balance on the consumer’s account if the amount owing on that account is not paid before the Overdue Notice is generated.
- Turn-Off Deadline: Payment for water service charges must be received in the Supplier’s offices no later than 4:30 p.m. on the date specified in the Overdue Notice. Postmarks are not acceptable.
- Notification of Returned Check: Upon receipt of a returned check rendered as remittance for water service or other charges, the Supplier will consider the account not paid. The Supplier will attempt to notify the consumer in person and leave a notice of termination of water service at the premises. Water service will be disconnected if the amount of the returned check and returned check charge are not paid by the due date specified on the notice, which due date shall not be sooner than the date specified in the Overdue Notice; or if an Overdue Notice had not been previously provided, no sooner than the sixtieth (60th) day after the invoice for which payment by the returned check had been made. To redeem a retuned check and to pay a returned check charge, all amounts owing must be paid by cash or certified funds.
- Returned Check Tendered as Payment for Water Service Disconnected for Nonpayment:
- If the check tendered and accepted as payment which resulted in restoring service to an account that had been disconnected for nonpayment is returned as non-negotiable, the Supplier may disconnect said water service upon at least three (3) calendar days’ written notice. The consumer’s account may only be reinstated by receipt of outstanding charges in the form of money order or certified funds. Once the consumer’s account has been reinstated, the account will be flagged for a one-year period indicating the fact that a non-negotiable check was issued by the consumer.
- If at any time during the one year period described above, the consumer’s account is again disconnected for nonpayment, the Supplier may require the consumer to pay by money order or certified funds to have that water service restored.
- Conditions Prohibiting Discontinuation: The Supplier shall not discontinue residential water service if all of the following conditions are met:
- Health Conditions — The consumer or tenant of the consumer submits certification of a primary care provider that discontinuation of water service would (i) be life threatening, or (ii) pose a serious threat to the health and safety of a person residing at the property;
- Financial Inability — The consumer demonstrates he or she is financially unable to pay for water service within the water system’s normal billing cycle. The consumer is deemed “financially unable to pay” if any member of the consumer’s household is: (i) a current recipient of the following benefits: CalWORKS, CalFresh, general assistance, MediCal, SSI/State Supplementary Payment Program or California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; or (ii) the consumer declares the household’s annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level (see this link for the federal poverty levels applicable in California: https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/coveredcalifornia/income-limits); and
- Alternative Payment Arrangements — The consumer is willing to enter into an amortization agreement, alternative payment schedule or a plan for defened or reduced payment, consistent with the provisions of Section Ill, below.
- Process for Determination of Conditions Prohibiting Discontinuation of Service: The burden of proving compliance with the conditions described in Subdivision (C), above, is on the consumer. In order to allow the Supplier sufficient time to process any request for assistance by a consumer, the consumer is encouraged to provide the Supplier with the necessary documentation demonstrating the medical issues under Subdivision (C)(l), financial inability under Subdivision (C)(2) and willingness to enter into any alternative payment arrangement under Subdivision (C)(3) as far in advance of any proposed date for discontinuation of service as possible. Upon receipt of such documentation, the Supplier’s General Manager, or his or her designee, shall review that documentation and respond to the consumer within seven (7) calendar days to either request additional information, including information relating to the feasibility of the available alternative arrangements, or to notify the consumer of the alternative payment arrangement, and terms thereof, under Section Ill, below, in which the Supplier will allow the consumer to participate. If the Supplier has requested additional information, the consumer shall provide that requested information within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Supplier’s request. Within five (5) calendar days of its receipt of that additional information, the Supplier shall either notify the consumer in writing that the consumer does not meet the conditions under Subdivision (C), above, or notify the consumer in writing of the alternative payment arrangement, and terms thereof, under Section Ill, below, in which the Supplier will allow the consumer to participate. Consumers who fail to meet the conditions described in Subdivision (C), above, must pay the delinquent amount, including any penalties and other charges, owing to the Supplier within the latter to occur of: (i) two (2) business days after the date of notification from the Supplier of the Supplier’s determination the consumer failed to meet those conditions; or (ii) the date of the impending service discontinuation, as specified in the Overdue Notice.
- Special Rules for Low Income Consumers: Consumers are deemed to have a household income below 200% of the federal poverty line if: (i) any member of the customer’s household is a current recipient of the following benefits: CalWORKS, CalFresh, general assistance, Medi-Cal, SSI/State Supplementary Payment Program or California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; or (ii) the consumer declares the household’s annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level (see this link for the federal poverty levels applicable in California: https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/covered-california/income-limits). If a consumer demonstrates either of those circumstances, then the following apply:
- Reconnection Fees: If service has been discontinued and is to be reconnected, then any reconnection fees during the Supplier’s normal operating hours cannot exceed $50, and reconnection fees during nonoperational hours cannot exceed $150. Those fees cannot exceed the actual cost of reconnection if that cost is less than the statutory caps. Those caps may be adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area beginning January 1, 2021.
- Interest Waiver: The Supplier shall not impose any interest charges on delinquent bills.
Landlord-Tenant Scenario: The below procedures apply to individually metered detached single-family dwellings, multi-unit residential structures and mobile home parks where the property owner or manager is the customer of record and is responsible for payment of the water bill.
- Required Notice:
- At least 10 calendar days prior if the property is a multiunit residential structure or mobile home park, or 7 calendar days prior if the property is a detached single-family dwelling, to the possible discontinuation of water service, the Supplier must make a good faith effort to inform the tenants/occupants at the property by written notice that the water service will be discontinued.
- The written notice must also inform the tenants/occupants that they have the right to become customers to whom the service will be billed (see Subdivision 2, below), without having to pay any of the then delinquent amounts.
- Tenants/Occupants Becoming Customers:
- The Supplier is not required to make service available to the tenants/occupants unless each tenant/occupant agrees to the terms and conditions for service and meets the Supplier’s requirements and rules.
- However, if (i) one or more of the tenants/occupants assumes responsibility for subsequent charges to the account to the Supplier’s satisfaction, or (ii) there is a physical means to selectively discontinue service to those tenants/occupants who have not met the Supplier’s requirements, then the Supplier may make service available only to those tenants/occupants who have met the requirements.
- If prior service for a particular length of time is a condition to establish credit with the Supplier, then residence at the property and proof of prompt payment of rent for that length of time, to the Supplier’s satisfaction, is a satisfactory equivalent.
- If a tenant/occupant becomes a customer of the Supplier and the tenant’s/occupant’s rent payments include charges for residential water service where those charges are not separately stated, the tenant/occupant may deduct from future rent payments all reasonable charges paid to the Supplier during the prior payment period.
- Alternative Payment Arrangements: For any consumer who meets the three conditions under Section Il(C), above, in accordance with the process set forth in Section Il(D), above, the Supplier shall offer the consumer one or more of the following alternative payment arrangements, to be selected by the Supplier in its discretion: (i) amortization of the unpaid balance under Subdivision (A), below; (ii) alternative payment schedule under Subdivision (B), below; (iii) partial or full reduction of unpaid balance under Subdivision (C), below; or (iv) temporary deferral of payment under Subdivision (D), below. The General Manager, or his or her designee, shall, in the exercise of reasonable discretion, select the most appropriate alternative payment arrangement after reviewing the information and documentation provided by the consumer and taking into consideration the consumer’s financial situation and Supplier’s payment needs.
- Amortization: Any consumer who is unable to pay for water service within the normal payment period and meets the three conditions under Section II(C), above, as the Supplier shall confirm, may, if the Supplier has selected this alternative, enter into an amortization plan on the following terms:
- Term: The consumer shall pay the unpaid balance, with the administrative fee and interest as specified in Subdivision (2), below, over a period not to exceed twelve (12) months, as determined by the General Manager or his or her designee; provided, however, that the General Manager or his or her designee, in their reasonable discretion, may apply an amortization term of longer than twelve (12) months to avoid undue hardship on the consumer. The unpaid balance, together with the applicable administrative fee and any interest to be applied, shall be divided by the number of months in the amortization period and that amount shall be added each month to the consumer’s ongoing monthly bills for water service.
- Administrative Fee; Interest: For any approved amortization plan, the consumer will be charged an administrative fee, in the amount established by the Supplier from time to time, representing the cost of initiating and administering the plan. At the discretion of the General Manager or his or her designee, interest at an annual rate not to exceed eight percent (8%) shall be applied to any amounts to be amortized under this Subsection A.
- Schedule: After consulting with the consumer and considering the consumer’s financial limitation, the General Manager or his or her designee shall develop and alternative payment schedule to be agreed upon with the consumer. That alternative schedule may provide for periodic lump sum payments that do not coincide with the establish payment date, may provide for payments to be made more frequently than monthly, or may provide that payment be made less frequently than monthly, provided that in all cases, subject to Subdivision (1), above, the unpaid balance ad administrative fee shall be paid in full within twelve (12) months of establishment of the payment schedule. The agreed upon schedule shall be set forth in writing and be provided to the consumer.
- Compliance with Plan: The consumer must comply with the agreed upon payment schedule and remain current as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period. The consumer may not request a longer payment schedule for any subsequent unpaid charges while paying delinquent charges pursuant to a previously agreed upon schedule. Where the consumer fails to comply with the terms of the agreed upon schedule for sixty (60) calendar days or more or fails to pay the consumer’s current service charges for sixty (60) calendar days or more, the Supplier may discontinue water service to the consumer’s property at least five (5) business days after posting at the consumer’s residence a final notice of its intent to discontinue service.
- Reduction of Unpaid Balance: Any consumer who is unable to pay for water service within the normal payment period and meets the three conditions under Section Il(C), above, as the Supplier shall confirm, may, if the Supplier has selected this alternative, receive a reduction of the unpaid balance owed by the consumer, not to exceed thirty percent (30%) of that balance without approval of and action by the Board of Directors; provided that any such reduction shall be funded from a source that does not result in additional charges being imposed on other customers. The proportion of any reduction shall be determined by the consumer’s financial need, the Supplier’s financial condition and needs and the availability of funds to offset the reduction of the consumer’s unpaid balance.
- Repayment Period: The consumer shall pay the reduced balance by the due date determined by the General Manager or his or her designee, which date (the “Reduced Payment Date”) shall be at least fifteen (15) calendar days after the effective date of the reduction of the unpaid balance.
- Compliance with Reduced Payment Date: The consumer must pay the reduced balance on or before the Reduced Payment Date, and must remain current in paying in full any charges that accrue in each subsequent billing period. If the consumer fails to pay the reduced payment amount within sixty (60) calendar days after the Reduced Payment Date, or fails to pay the consumer’s current service charges for sixty (60) calendar days or more, the Supplier may discontinue water service to the consumer’s property at least five (5) business days after posting at the consumer’s residence a final notice of its intent to discontinue service.
- Temporary Deferral of Payment: Any consumer who is unable to pay for water service within the normal payment period and meets the three conditions under Section Il(C), above, as the Supplier shall confirm, may, if the Supplier has selected this alternative, have payment of the unpaid balance temporarily deferred for a period of up to six (6) months after the payment is due. The Supplier shall determine, in its discretion, how long of a deferral shall be provided to the consumer.
- Repayment Period: The consumer shall pay the unpaid balance by the deferral date (the “Deferred Payment Date”) determined by the General Manager or his or her designee. The Deferral Payment Date shall be within twelve (12) months from the date the unpaid balance became delinquent; provided, however, that the General Manager or his or her designee, in their reasonable discretion, may establish a Deferred Payment Date beyond that twelve (12) month period to avoid undue hardship on the consumer.
- Compliance with Reduced Payment Date: The consumer must pay the reduced balance on or before the Deferred Payment Date, and must remain current in paying in full any charges that accrue in each subsequent billing period. If the consumer fails to pay the unpaid payment amount within sixty (60) calendar days after the Deferred Payment Date, or fails to pay the consumer’s current service charges for sixty (60) calendar days or more, the Supplier may discontinue water service to the consumer’s property at least five (5) business days after posting at the consumer’s residence a final notice of its intent to discontinue service.
- Appeals: The procedure to be used to appeal the amount set forth in any bill for residential water service is set forth below. A consumer shall be limited to three (3) unsuccessful appeals in any twelve (12) month period and if that limit has been reached, the Supplier is not required to consider any subsequent appeals commenced by or on behalf of that consumer.
- Initial Appeal: Within ten (10) days of receipt of the bill for water service, the consumer has a right to initiate an appeal or review of any bill or charge. Such request must be made in writing and be delivered to the Supplier’s office. For so long as the consumer’s appeal and any resulting investigation is pending, the Supplier cannot discontinue water service to the consumer.
- Overdue Notice Appeal: In addition to the appeal rights provided under Subsection A, above, any consumer who receives an Overdue Notice may request an appeal or review of the bill to which the Overdue Notice relates at least five business (5) days after the date of the Overdue Notice if the consumer alleges the bill is in error with respect to the quantity of water consumption set forth on that bill; provided, however, that no such appeal or review rights shall apply to any bill for which an appeal or request for review under Subsection A, above, has been made. Any appeal or request for review under this Subsection B must be in writing and must include documentation supporting the appeal or the reason for the review. The request for an appeal or review must be delivered to the Supplier’s office within that five (5) business day period. For so long as the consumer’s appeal and any resulting investigation is pending, the Supplier cannot discontinue water service to the consumer.
- Appeal Hearing: Following receipt of a request for an appeal or review under Subsections A or B, above, a hearing date shall be promptly set before the General Manager, or his or her designee (the “Hearing Officer”). After evaluation of the evidence provided by the consumer and the information on file with the Supplier concerning the water charges in question, the Hearing Officer shall render a decision as to the accuracy of the water charges set forth on the bill and shall provide the appealing consumer with a brief written summary of the decision.
- If water charges are determined to be incorrect, the Supplier will provide a corrected invoice and payment of the revised charges will be due within ten (10) calendar days of the invoice date for revised charges. If the revised charges remain unpaid for more than sixty (60) calendar days after the corrected invoice is provided, water service will be disconnected, on the next regular working day after expiration of that sixty (60) calendar day period; provided that the Supplier shall provide the consumer with the Overdue Notice in accordance with Section II(B)(I), above. Water service will only be restored upon full payment of all outstanding water charges, fees, and any and all applicable reconnection charges.
- (a) If the water charges in question are determined to be correct, the water charges are due and payable within two (2) business days after the Hearing Officer’s decision is rendered. At the time the Hearing Officer’s decision is rendered, the consumer will be advised of the right to further appeal before the Board of Directors. Any such appeal must be filed in writing within seven (7) calendar days after the Hearing Officer’s decision is rendered if the appeal or review is an initial appeal under Subdivision A above, or within three (3) calendar days if the appeal or review is an Overdue Notice appeal under Subdivision B, above. The appeal hearing will occur at the next regular meeting of the Board of Directors, unless the consumer and Supplier agree to a later date.
(b) For an initial appeal under Subdivision A, above, if the consumer does not timely appeal to the Board of Directors, the water charges in question shall be immediately due and payable. In the event the charges are not paid in full within sixty (60) calendar days after the original billing date, then the Supplier shall provide with the Overdue Notice in accordance with Section II(B)(I), above, and may proceed in potentially discontinuing service to the consumer’s property.
(c) For an Overdue Notice appeal under Subdivision B, above, if the consumer does not timely appeal to the Board of Directors, then water service to the subject property may be discontinued on written or telephonic notice to the consumer to be given at least twenty-four (24) hours after the latter to occur of: (i) expiration of the original sixty (60) calendar day notice period set forth in the Overdue Notice; or (ii) the expiration of the appeal period.
- When a hearing before the Board of Directors is requested, such request shall be made in writing and delivered to the Supplier at its office.
The consumer will be required to personally appear before the Board and present evidence and reasons as to why the water charges on the bill in question are not accurate. The Board shall evaluate the evidence presented by the consumer, as well as the information on file with the Supplier concerning the water charges in question, and render a decision as to the accuracy of said charges.
a) If the Board finds the water charges in question are incorrect, the consumer will be invoiced for the revised charges. If the revised charges remain unpaid for more than sixty (60) calendar days after the corrected invoice is provided, water service will be disconnected, on the next regular working day after expiration of that sixty (60) calendar day period; provided that the Supplier shall provide the consumer with the Overdue Notice in accordance with Section II(B)(I), above. Water service will be restored only after outstanding water charges and any and all applicable reconnection charges are paid in full.
b) If the water charges in question are determined to be correct, the water charges are due and payable within two (2) business days after the decision of the Board is rendered. In the event the charges are not paid in full within sixty (60) calendar days after the original billing date, then the Supplier shall provide with the Overdue Notice in accordance with Section II(B)(I), above, and may proceed in potentially discontinuing service to the consumer’s property.
c) Any overcharges will be reflected as a credit on the next regular bill to the consumer, or refunded directly to the consumer, at the sole discretion of the Board.
d) Water service to any consumer shall not be discontinued at any time during which the consumer’s appeal to the Supplier or its Board of Directors is pending.
e) The Board’s decision is final and binding.
- Restoration of Service: In order to resume or continue service that has been discontinued due to non-payment, the consumer must pay a security deposit and a Reconnection Fee established by the Supplier, subject to the limitation set forth in Section II(E)(I), above. The Supplier will endeavor to make such reconnection as soon as practicable as a convenience to the consumer. The Supplier shall make the reconnection no later than the end of the next regular working day following the consumer’s request and payment of any applicable Reconnection Fee.