Commerce customers habitually late paying their utility bills will find the city less accommodating following action taken by the city council Monday night.
Effective immediately, the city will cease sending out late-payment notices and will increase the reconnection fee when utility service is cut off for nonpayment.
An average of about 120 city utility customers are delinquent enough each month that their service is cut off. The city spends almost $30,000 a year in staff time dealing with those customers, but recoups only about $18,000 from reconnection fees.
Those fees changed Monday night. The basic during-business-hours reconnection fee has been increased from $15 to $50 for customers inside the city; from $30 to $75 for customers outside the city limits; and from $35 to $125 for after-hours connections — 5 to 8 p.m.
In addition, the city will cease doing reconnections after 8 p.m. and on weekends.
The council approved the policy change unanimously.
“This is not intended as a revenue stream for the city,” noted finance director James Wascher in a memo to the council. “If effective, the number of delinquent accounts and subsequent disconnections will be minimized.”
As part of the process, the city will also cease sending reminders to customers that their payments are overdue.
For full coverage of the March 17 Commerce City Council meeting, see the March 19 issue of The Commerce News.