H-6 UTILITY BILLING

H-6-1 PURPOSE

The purpose of this chapter is to establish rules and regulations in regards to the billing procedures for municipal utility services. This chapter shall include policy provisions regarding delinquent bills, disconnection procedures, forfeiture of deposits, and also the procedures for reconnection to municipal utility services.

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1, 9-47-1, 9-48-2

H-6-2 DUE DATE

All fees and charges for utilities and utility services furnished by the City are due and payable on the first day of the calendar month following the period in which such utilities and utility services were supplied or rendered. The City Council may enter into such agreements with financial institutions as it sees fit designed to allow automatic payments of utility bills.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-3 DELINQUENT BILLS

All fees and charges for municipal utilities and utility services not received by the City prior to the close of business on the fifteenth day of the month shall be declared delinquent; a late charge of five percent (5%) of the total amount appearing on the billing statement or one dollar ($1), which ever is greater, which must then be paid in addition to the fees and charges stated in the original billing statement. All governmental subdivisions and activated military personnel during the respective period of activation upon proof of activation are exempt from said delinquent charge. In the event the fifteenth day falls upon a weekend or other holiday, the late charge will not accrue until the next succeeding business day.

Source:

Authority: 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-4 NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY

Notice of the delinquency of the account, the imposition of late charges, and reminder that the recipient may appear before the City Council concerning the unpaid utility bill shall be sent by first class mail to all delinquent accounts. The notice must state the grounds on which the proposed disconnect is based, the City’s intention to disconnect service unless the customer takes corrective action, and the corrective action which the customer must take to avoid disconnection.

Source:  Ofd 942

Authority: 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-5 OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING

The billing statement issued on the first day of the month shall provide notice that the City Council shall, at its second regular meeting of each month, provide an opportunity for anyone disputing a City utility bill or requesting different arrangements for payment of an uncontested bill to be heard. Notification of intent to appear before council at the second meeting of the month must be given to the Finance Officer or their designee by the 12th of the month in which the bill is due. Failure to appear before the Council at the second meeting of the month in which the bill is due constitutes waiver of the right to be heard and the utility account is then subject to disconnection as established in H-6-6.

The Finance Officer or their designee shall inform any individual appearing before the City Council of the decision within three (3) days of the hearing. The City Council shall have the power to waive late charges and/or any portion of the unpaid balance if it is in the best interest of the City.

Source:  Ord 942

Authority: SDCL 9-39-23

H-6-6 DISCONNECTION AND RECONNECTION

If all fees and charges for municipal utilities and utility services have not been received by the City on or before the twenty-seventh day following the date of the billing for the period in which such utilities and utility services were supplied or rendered, including any outstanding returned payments for utility services, on the twenty-eighth day or the next business day, the City may disconnect the utility service connection or metering device for all or part of the utility services supplied but not paid, unless the decision of the council at the hearing pursuant to H-6-5 permitted other payment arrangements. Such utilities, once disconnected, may be reconnected only by a City employee at the direction of the Finance Officer or their designee. The Finance Officer or their designee shall order reconnection only upon payment of the full amount due (including late charge if applicable), plus a new deposit if the existing deposit was applied toward the outstanding balance, plus a non-refundable reconnect charge of Forty Dollars ($40) plus tax; if a reconnect is requested after hours or on Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or at a time when the City’s business offices are not open to the public, the reconnect fee charged will be Sixty Dollars ($60) plus tax.

Source:  Ord 899, 935, 942

Authority:  SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23

H-6-7 UTILITY RECONNECTION AFTER PAST DUE UTILITY ACCOUNT TURNED OVER TO COLLECTION AGENCY

Any person seeking to reconnect any utility after the said utility account has been turned over to a collection agency may be reconnected only upon payment of said charges in H-6-6, plus the City’s costs incurred by the turn over to the collection agency.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23

H-6-8 FORFEIT OF DEPOSIT

If a utility bill remains unpaid thirty (30) days after billing, the deposit shall be applied toward the outstanding balance, and the current utility deposit must be paid before service is reconnected.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-9 RENTAL PROPERTY

Landlords or property owners whose tenants are billed directly by the City may be assured of notice prior to disconnection of service if such landlord or property owner has requested, in writing, that he be sent notice of his tenant’s delinquent utility bill. In the event that the tenants fail to pay the utility bills as provided herein, the property owner may avert interruption of service to the property by payment of the outstanding amount before the fourteenth day following the day the bill became delinquent.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-10 NOTICE TO TENANTS

Utility service to tenants, where the billings for utilities and services are made to the landlord, may not be terminated prior to ten (10) days from notice of delinquent account. In such cases, notice of delinquent account must be posted conspicuously on the premises, as well as, mailed first class to the landlord in whose name the utilities account is maintained. Notice of opportunity for hearing before the City Council must be included in the posted notice.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-11 PARTIAL DISCONNECTION

If a utility bill is only partially unpaid, only the utility not paid for may be disconnected or interrupted. Payments otherwise undesignated will be credited first to the sales tax, secondly to sewer, third to water and finally to electric and other charges.

Source:

Authority: SDCL 9-39-1, 9-39-23, 9-40-1

H-6-12 EXCEPTIONS

Electrical service may not be disconnected under this chapter if such measures would be reasonably expected to immediately endanger the health or safety of a building occupant who has established at the hearing provided for in H-6-5 that they cannot, by reasonable effort, find shelter or housing elsewhere.

The City utility service may continue for a single thirty (30) day period upon receipt and approval by the governing body of a physician’s certificate that disconnection of utility service would aggravate an existing medical emergency or other urgent circumstances of the customer or another permanent resident in the customer’s premise.

If the City continues electrical service under this section, it reserves the right to take such measures as the City Superintendent or his designee shall see fit to minimize power consumption or loss to the City. The City does not waive its right to ultimate payment by this section, but may waive its right to timely or immediate payment.

Source:  Ord 942

H-6-13 CLOSEOUT OF UTILITY ACCOUNTS

Utility customers are required to inform the City on the closeout of municipal utility services for their utility service address. Upon presentment of updated contact information and application of any refundable deposit for security, subject to H-5-3 (B), utility services for the respective account will be finalized and final meter readings will serve to calculate the final utility fees and charges for the utility account. Utility accounts will be finalized on the date of final reading of utility meters and any fees or charges for utility services shall be pro-rated based upon the number of days occupied since the previous date that utility metering devices were read by the City for utility billing purposes.

Source: 899, 942