Eagle Mountain City’s Utility Billing staff is tasked with following the City’s policies and procedures to administer our residents’ utility accounts. In the past, Eagle Mountain City billed for all utility services including Electricity, Natural Gas, Water, Sewer, Storm Drain, Garbage and many years ago, telephone services. Currently, the City provides Water, Sewer, Storm Drain and Garbage services.
Water is a metered service and is read on a monthly basis by the Water Department. This is accomplished by an employee driving a city vehicle down every street in the city to receive the read that is transmitted by an Electronic Radio Transmitter (ERT) to a computer in the vehicle. Typically, water meters are read on or about the 20th day of each month (this varies slightly month to month due to weekends and holidays). The read period is about 30 days on average, meaning that the consumption measured will be from the 20th of the previous month to the 20th of the current month. After the measurement is recorded, it is sent over to the Utility Billing Department. Staff then goes through each account looking for anomalies that could indicate a leak in the customer’s yard or a non-operable radio transmitter. These problems are either corrected by Water Department personnel or noticed to the resident if there is a problem on the customer’s side of the meter. Once these issues are resolved, the Utility Billing Staff begins the process of producing the next month’s utility bills. Utility Bills are mailed just before the 10th of the month and usually arrive in resident’s mailboxes around the 10th or 11th of the month. These bills contain a due date for the last day of the month in which they were received. This typically allows the customer as much as three weeks to pay the bill (in 31 day months).
If a customer does not make a payment by the due date specified on the bill, they will receive a late notice by mail on yellow paper reminding them that there is an unpaid balance on their account and notifying them that a $15 late fee has been assessed. This notice also gives the date when water services will be disconnected from their home if payment is still not received. This disconnect date is around the middle of each month but varies due to how many days there are in the current month. Customers need to refer to this notice to know the exact date that month in which services could be disconnected for non-payment. In addition to the late notice, the bill that is received around the 10th or 11th of the month also contains a reminder of when disconnection of service for non-payment will occur that month. If a resident is registered with Xpress Bill Pay for online payments, they can receive email notifications when a new bill is generated and receive a receipt when their payment is accepted. They can also receive an email notice if an auto payment cannot be processed. Finally, the City sends a blanket courtesy reminder (not specific to individual accounts) to all subscribers to the City’s e-notifications the day before the disconnect date.
In order to try to help our residents avoid late fees and disconnection for non-payment, we offer both “Payment Plans” and “Promises to Pay.” Customers who find themselves in a situation in which they are not able to pay the amount owed by the due date are encouraged to call the Utility Billing staff prior to the bill due date to make arrangements for a Payment Plan or Promise to Pay to help them avoid this situation. The Utility Billing staff is ready to help customers get through difficult times by following these policies. Payment Plans require the resident to come into the Utility Billing office and sign the arrangement before the arrangement is considered in force. Payment Plans are multi-month plans that split up the delinquent amount owed amongst a specified period of time to be included with subsequent bill amounts due. Promises to Pay enable a customer to extend the due date of one bill to the third (3rd) Friday of the following month and can be utilized once every four (4) months.
In the event that a customer has not made arrangements such as a Payment Plan or Promise to Pay, and does not pay the balance owed on their account by 5:30 p.m. the night before the specified disconnection of service date in the late notice and on the utility bill, a $50 processing fee will be assessed and services disconnected. When this happens, customers’ services are restored according to chronological order in which payment was received. By ordinance on the City’s Consolidated Fee Schedule, the City is allowed up to 24 hours to restore services after payment is received. This policy is noted on the back of the utility bills along with rate schedules for each service the City provides. The City knows that going 24 hours without services is not convenient for any resident and therefore, we strive to restore services the same day in which payment is received. This requires personnel working late into the night on the date services are disconnected to limit the inconvenience for residents.
City personnel have found common issues that can lead to a resident being disconnected for non-payment. Some of these issues include the following:
- Having an expired credit or debit card on file with Xpress Bill-Pay or the Auto-Payment System
- Setting up Auto-Payment after the specified cut-off date for payment of the current month’s bill
- Assuming the disconnect for non-payment date is the same each month
- Extended vacations in which the customer did not see the bill and/or late notice and did not arrange prior payment
- Transposing numbers on personal checks making it impossible for the utility billing office to deposit the check (residents are notified of the problem the day the payment is processed)
- Not transferring services into their name when moving into a home
- Miscommunication between account holders at the same address regarding making payments or receiving notices.
By the time the bill is actually due, it has been as much as 60 days since the start of the billing period that the customer is paying for. This is the main reason for customers who are moving from a home to expect at least one more utility bill to be sent after the one that is due at the time they vacate the home. A transfer or termination form must be filled out and submitted to the utility billing office when changing addresses so that the City has a forwarding address to send the final bill to, or if residents are moving within the city, the balance can be transferred to the account at the new address. Please do not notify the City of a change of address by phone or via email or a note in your bill. The termination or transfer form must be completed to ensure a smooth transition with your account. It is important to confirm your final bill has been paid in order to avoid an unpaid balance being sent to collections.
The staff of Eagle Mountain City’s Utility Billing Department seeks to help residents have a smooth experience in activating accounts, terminating accounts, paying bills and resolving questions about their services. Simultaneously, the staff is tasked with ensuring that payment is collected for the services rendered. While shutting off water service to any resident is not something the City enjoys doing, it is a task that must be done in order to manage the financial health of the City’s utilities. Disconnecting the Water utility is done only after the City has made multiple attempts to notify utility users of their past-due balance. If the City were to abandon its policy of consistent and timely management of utility billing, the result would be an increased cost to those who do pay their bills in a timely manner. I believe I was elected to guarantee effective management of City resources, and this means that our Water utility must be run as a business. It is my obligation to ensure that this is the approach we continue to take.