Chapter 16.13
UNIFIED UTILITIES BILLING SYSTEM

Sections:

16.13.010    Unified billing for refuse, sewage and water.

16.13.020    Penalties for nonpayment.

16.13.030    Reserved.

16.13.040    Penalties for delinquent payment.

16.13.050    Billing errors and adjustments.

16.13.010 UNIFIED BILLING FOR REFUSE, SEWAGE AND WATER.

The city of Santa Cruz shall charge customers for garbage, refuse and trash collection service pursuant to Chapter 6.12, for water service pursuant to Chapter 16.11, and for sewage service pursuant to Chapter 16.12 by use of a unified billing statement, and charges for these services shall be collected as one item.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 5, 2016).

16.13.020 PENALTIES FOR NONPAYMENT.

(a)    No person shall fail or refuse to pay the charges for garbage, refuse and trash collection service, for water service, and for sewage service provided for in this code. If any person shall fail or refuse to pay these lawful charges, including both delinquent and current charges, for any of the services herein referenced, the water service to the premises, regardless of tenancy, shall be shut off. Prior to such water service shutoff, the customer shall be mailed a final notice informing him or her that the shutoff will be enforced if payment is not made within the time specified in the notice. The final notice shall be given, and the noticed date of shutoff shall be calculated, in accordance with the applicable provisions of Division 1, Part 1, Chapter 4 of the California Public Utilities Code and Division 5, Chapter 1 of the California Public Utilities Code.

(b)    In lieu of, or in addition to, the penalty provided for in subsection (a), if any person shall fail or refuse to pay these lawful charges, including both delinquent and current charges, for any of the services herein referenced, the city may, at its option, discontinue garbage, refuse and trash collection services to the premises, regardless of tenancy. In addition, should said person receive garbage, refuse and trash collection, or water service from the city at more than one location, the city may, at its option, discontinue said garbage, refuse and trash collection and water service to any or all of said locations. Any such discontinuance of service shall be on the same terms and pursuant to the same conditions of notice as set forth in subsection (a).

(Ord. 95-05 § 1, 1995: Ord. 89-18 § 8, 1989).

16.13.030 RESERVED.

16.13.040 PENALTIES FOR DELINQUENT PAYMENT.

Customers shall pay the charges for garbage, refuse and trash collection service, for water service, and for sewage service on, or prior to, the due date for payment set forth in the billing statement. If the bill is not paid on, or prior to, said due date, the billing shall be considered delinquent and there shall be added a penalty charge of ten percent of the delinquent amount or five dollars, whichever amount is greater.

(Ord. 89-18 § 8, 1989).

16.13.050 BILLING ERRORS AND ADJUSTMENTS.

When a customer notes an error in his or her unified billing which overcharges or undercharges the customer for his or her utility service or which, in the past, has resulted in the customer’s underpayment or overpayment for utility services provided by the city, the customer shall promptly notify the city of this error. When the city notes an error in its unified billing to a customer which has resulted in underpayment or overpayment by the customer, the city shall put the customer on notice of the error. In the case of underpayment, the customer shall reimburse the city that amount he or she has underpaid during the twelve-month period prior to notice. In the case of overpayment, the city shall reimburse the customer that amount the customer has overpaid during the twelve-month period prior to notice.

When a utility customer, or the city, makes the discovery that a condition exists with a utility bill that is the result of an extraordinary circumstance which is beyond the control of the customer, the water director, or such designee(s) assigned by the water director, may adjust the customer’s utility billing in accordance with the stipulations of this code and written water department policy.

The purpose for providing administrative authority to perform billing adjustments is to allow the water director to authorize minor deviations from the strict application of the utility rate structures when extraordinary, nonrecurrent problems which are beyond the control of the customer occur that adversely affect the customer’s utility billing. A utility billing adjustment may be granted only when the water director finds all of the following conditions to exist:

(1)    That a written request for consideration of a utility billing adjustment has been received by the water director within thirty calendar days subsequent to the date the utility bill was mailed;

(2)    That the conditions which caused the customer’s need for administrative relief were not created by any act of the customer and were an extraordinary condition. Personal, family or financial difficulties, loss of prospective profits and standards of property maintenance which are at the discretion of the customer are not conditions which justify approval of a billing adjustment;

(3)    That the billing adjustment, if granted, would not be a special privilege of the recipient not enjoyed by another utility customer facing similar circumstances;

(4)    That the billing adjustment will not materially impair the purpose and intent of the rules and regulations used to govern the delivery and administration of utility services. Each request for the granting of a utility billing adjustment shall be considered on its individual merits and no billing adjustment shall be considered to have set a precedent for the denial or approval of further billing adjustments;

(5)    That in any situation in which the justification for a billing adjustment is based upon the malfunction, breakage or failure of a component of the customer-owned water service system, no billing adjustment shall be granted until it has been proven to the satisfaction of the water director that repairs or replacements of the malfunctioning, broken or failed component have been performed.

(Ord. 95-34 § 1, 1996: Ord. 95-06 § 1, 1995: Ord. 89-18 § 8, 1989).