New city program helps residents pay their utility bills

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities is helping income-eligible Sacramento residents save up to $72 annually on their utility bills. The newly-launched Utility Rate Assistance Program (URAP) is designed to offset some of the recent water and wastewater rate increases that took effect last year by applying up to a $6 monthly bill credit to qualifying households. To qualify, residents must complete and submit a URAP application, available at www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities. Residents must also: • Be at or below 100-percent of the Federal Poverty Level (up to $23,050 for a family of four) • Occupy and be responsible for the utility bill for a single-family residence, condominium or townhome. For renters, tenants must have a lease agreement stating the tenant’s responsibility for the city utility services. The owner must have a Tenant-Lease agreement on file with the City. “We are encouraging our residents to apply early for this program,” said Dave Brent, director of the Department of Utilities. “We’ve made every effort to make the application process as simple as possible to encourage participation.” URAP applications can be submitted at any time in 2013, but applications approved before March 31 will receive retroactive bill credits for January and February. The URAP application is available at www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities or by calling 916-808-5454.   Disclosure: This story was written by the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities

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Council votes in favor of utility rate hikes

Water and sewer rates will head skyward for Sacramento residents after July 1 – and will continue rising for three years – as the city tries to raise revenue needed to pay for infrastructure improvements. City Council members Angelique Ashby, Steve Cohn, Rob Fong, Jay Schenirer, Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong voted in favor of the rate increases, which were recommended by the Utilities Rate Commission and the city Department of Utilities. City Councilwomen Sandy Sheedy and Bonnie Pannell were opposed. “Our current water rates are among the lowest in the region, in the state and in the nation,” City Manager John Shirey said Tuesday, “and they will remain that way with the proposed rate increases.” The Council approved a yearly 10 percent rate increase for water customers for the next three years, along with 16, 15 and 14 percent increases for wastewater rates over the same time period. With the increased rates, the utility bill for the average single family residence is estimated by Utilities Department staff to average an increase of $288 per year. Revenue from the fee increases will be directed toward long-awaited infrastructure projects in the city, including a retrofit of the city’s two water treatment plants and replacement of approximately 11 miles of worn-out water system pipes and four miles of wastewater/sewer system pipes, according to the city staff report. […]

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City ‘cleans up’ utilities code after 20 years

City officials are changing the city code on utility service billing which may result in lower rates for some residents. Some provisions of the code have not been touched in 20 years and city officials say the old language did not meet state health and safety codes. Shelle Smallwood, Utilities Department billing manager, told members of the city’s Law and Legislation committee Tuesday that the changes reflect updates that are consistent with current city practices and with the state code. Other than a potential rate reduction for a few customers, there does not appear to be any financial impact from the changes in the city code for other customers or for the city. In addition to clarifying terms and specifying updated billing operations, the revised language will repeal a section of the city code that imposes an automatic multiplier on the water rate for service outside the city. A multiplier is an additional cost added to the normal rate of service for customers who receive services outside the scope of the regular rate – such as properties that are outside city limits. According to city attorneys, an automatic multiplier is inconsistent with Proposition 218, which requires utility rates to be based on cost of service. “The city has sometimes provided service for customers with properties that are not within city limits, but are adjacent to […]

Continue reading

New city program helps residents pay their utility bills

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities is helping income-eligible Sacramento residents save up to $72 annually on their utility bills. The newly-launched Utility Rate Assistance Program (URAP) is designed to offset some of the recent water and wastewater rate increases that took effect last year by applying up to a $6 monthly bill credit to qualifying households. To qualify, residents must complete and submit a URAP application, available at www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities. Residents must also: • Be at or below 100-percent of the Federal Poverty Level (up to $23,050 for a family of four) • Occupy and be responsible for the utility bill for a single-family residence, condominium or townhome. For renters, tenants must have a lease agreement stating the tenant’s responsibility for the city utility services. The owner must have a Tenant-Lease agreement on file with the City. “We are encouraging our residents to apply early for this program,” said Dave Brent, director of the Department of Utilities. “We’ve made every effort to make the application process as simple as possible to encourage participation.” URAP applications can be submitted at any time in 2013, but applications approved before March 31 will receive retroactive bill credits for January and February. The URAP application is available at www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities or by calling 916-808-5454.   Disclosure: This story was written by the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities

continue reading

Council votes in favor of utility rate hikes

Water and sewer rates will head skyward for Sacramento residents after July 1 – and will continue rising for three years – as the city tries to raise revenue needed to pay for infrastructure improvements. City Council members Angelique Ashby, Steve Cohn, Rob Fong, Jay Schenirer, Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong voted in favor of the rate increases, which were recommended by the Utilities Rate Commission and the city Department of Utilities. City Councilwomen Sandy Sheedy and Bonnie Pannell were opposed. “Our current water rates are among the lowest in the region, in the state and in the nation,” City Manager John Shirey said Tuesday, “and they will remain that way with the proposed rate increases.” The Council approved a yearly 10 percent rate increase for water customers for the next three years, along with 16, 15 and 14 percent increases for wastewater rates over the same time period. With the increased rates, the utility bill for the average single family residence is estimated by Utilities Department staff to average an increase of $288 per year. Revenue from the fee increases will be directed toward long-awaited infrastructure projects in the city, including a retrofit of the city’s two water treatment plants and replacement of approximately 11 miles of worn-out water system pipes and four miles of wastewater/sewer system pipes, according to the city staff report. […]

continue reading

City ‘cleans up’ utilities code after 20 years

City officials are changing the city code on utility service billing which may result in lower rates for some residents. Some provisions of the code have not been touched in 20 years and city officials say the old language did not meet state health and safety codes. Shelle Smallwood, Utilities Department billing manager, told members of the city’s Law and Legislation committee Tuesday that the changes reflect updates that are consistent with current city practices and with the state code. Other than a potential rate reduction for a few customers, there does not appear to be any financial impact from the changes in the city code for other customers or for the city. In addition to clarifying terms and specifying updated billing operations, the revised language will repeal a section of the city code that imposes an automatic multiplier on the water rate for service outside the city. A multiplier is an additional cost added to the normal rate of service for customers who receive services outside the scope of the regular rate – such as properties that are outside city limits. According to city attorneys, an automatic multiplier is inconsistent with Proposition 218, which requires utility rates to be based on cost of service. “The city has sometimes provided service for customers with properties that are not within city limits, but are adjacent to […]

continue reading