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City to resume normal utility billing practices

RoseburgAdmin 0

ROSEBURG, OR – The Roseburg Water Department is asking water customers to reach out to discuss past-due balances as the department prepares to resume normal utility billing practices this summer.

The City suspended late fees and water shut-offs for nonpayment for a year and a half during the Covid-19 pandemic, said City Finance Department Director Ron Harker. Residents who weren’t able to pay their water bills during the pandemic were allowed to carry their balance forward.

As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease and the City begins transitioning back to normal operations, the Water Department will resume normal billing practices on July 1. Starting in July, the Water Department will once again charge late fees and potentially start the process to shut off water for non-payment.

“Not wanting to put adversely affected customers in a position of having their water shut-off, we will be setting up utility payment plans for those who cannot immediately bring their accounts current,” said Harker. “But we ask those in need to reach out to us.”

In addition, customers can contact the state of Oregon’s emergency assistance program for renters and the following nonprofits to ask about possible financial assistance with utility bills:

-- Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program: oregonrentalassistance.org

-- United Community Action Network (UCAN): 541-672-3421 or www.ucancap.org

-- St. Vincent de Paul: 541-580-0680

Roseburg water customers who pay their current bills and contact the City to set up a payment plan for amounts that are past-due by the July billing cycle will not have their water turned off.

Local residents are encouraged to contact the City utility billing staff to set up payment plans.

Under normal billing practices, each customer has 30 days from the bill date to pay the utility bill. If someone hasn’t paid by the 30-day deadline, they will get a late notice with an additional 15 days to pay from the day the bill was due.

Once the late-notice deadline passes, if the bill is not paid, they get a shut-off notice and are charged a $20 fee.

The shut-off notice gives a disconnect date by which the customer must pay in full to avoid having the water turned off, and adds a second $20 late fee that must be paid before service is restored if water has been shut off.

“We are grateful for those who have tried diligently during these pandemic times to maintain their accounts in good standing. We also recognize that the pandemic has adversely affected many of our customers,” Harker said. “We do not want to shut off anyone’s water as we transition to normal operations, so we will work with impacted customers to set up a suitable payment plan to bring accounts current.”

The payment plan a customer sets up with the City would only cover bills that are past due as of the July billing cycle. Water customers must keep future payments current and up to date.

Residents who’d like to arrange a payment plan must contact the City by Friday, July 30. Payment plans will be set up on a monthly payment basis and worked out with each individual customer.

For more information and/or to set up a payment plan for overdue water bills, please call utility billing at 541-492-6710 or email ub@cityofroseburg.org.

Posted by RoseburgAdmin