The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Change on water bills


December 19, 2019 | View PDF

If you are wondering why you have not received a water bill this month, it is not a mistake, but a change the city is making in their billing procedures for utility customers.

Currently, the city has been billing customers for their water in advance. Payments made at the beginning of November were for services provided in the month of November. For customers on a water meter, more is involved. These customers receive a bill for the trash and sewer services for the upcoming month, but the water bill for the previous month.

With the new billing procedures, all customers will be billed for services provided in the previous month. So, residents who are not on a meter will not receive a bill at all in the month of December, because they have already been billed for the month in advance. Those customers will receive a bill in early January that is for the services provided in the month of December.

Acting City Manager Jim Zervis said this will be a better system with the new accounting and billing programs and software that are being implemented. “Instead of billing customers for services they had not received yet, they will be billed for services they have actually received.”

The new billing method will also save the city a lot of paperwork and adjustments that have to be made when a customer moves out of a residence. “For tenants who move in the middle of a month, we were having to pro-rate and adjust the bill, refunding the customer the amount paid that was not used in the month.”

Under the new system, if a tenant moves out in the middle of the month, there will not have to be a refund issued. “If a resident moves – say, in the middle of December – they will just be billed for the time spent in the residence in the month of December.”

Customers already on a water meter likely noticed they received a small bill in December. This is because they were only billed for their water usage for the month of November. Starting in January, they will receive a bill for all services and their water usage for the month of December.

Required by the state of California, all customers will have to be on meters beginning in January 2021, so this billing procedure will be more in line with the change.

Thus, contrary to some customer fears, there will not be a large bill coming in January. It is just the adjustment being made so all services will be billed for the services rendered, instead of being billed in advance. Zervis asked that those with questions go to City Hall at 336 Pacific St. or call 661-746-5001.


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