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Water Advisory Branch
UNDER GENERAL ORDER 96-B
Standard Practice U-15-W
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
STANDARD PRACTICE ON BILLS AND FORMS
GENERAL ORDER 96-B
Table of Contents
1. The purpose of this standard practice is to provide guidance to utilities on the release of customer information and utilities' and Water Division staff on the proper format for bills and for forms the utility uses in dealing with customers.
2. Bills and forms are used for various purposes.
a. Bills are sent to the customers to announce that payment for water service is due. On April 20, 1983 the Commission approved a recommendation requiring all water utilities to do "report card" billing for metered service. It also directs utilities to send a bill insert at least once a year and whenever a rate increase is effective providing "report card" information (see Appendix A).
b. Forms are fill-in-the-blank documents that are used to collect information necessary to the operation of the utility. Some forms, such as the Connection Fee Data Form, must be in a specific format: the format given in Appendix B. For most forms, companies may develop unique versions or use the examples included in this standard practice.
All bills and forms used when dealing with the public must be filed as a tariff with the Commission.
3. Bills. The minimum requirements for information on a bill for metered service is as follows:
a. Meter Readings, Previous and Present
b. Mention that the numbers refer to the number of hundred cubic feet used
c. Service Charge
d. Quantity Charge
e. Quantity rates per hundred cubic feet
g. PUC surcharge
h. Other charges such as utility tax
f. Billing period usage comparison this year and last year
g. Date upon which the bill is past due
h. Amount Due
The bill may also contain the Account Number, service from and to dates, days of service and a breakdown in the quantity rates if block rates apply. In addition to the information included on the bill, all water utilities that provide metered service will send a bill insert (Appendix C) at lease once a year to all metered customers.
4. The bill must contain contact information for the utility, with a telephone number.
5. The bill must also contain substantially the following information1.
"If necessary, you may contact the California Public Utilities Commission if we have not handled your problem to your satisfaction. Send the bill and a statement setting forth the basis for the dispute to the California Public Utilities Commission, State Office Building, Consumer Affairs Branch, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2003, San Francisco, CA 94102; phone number (800) 649-7570; for the hearing impaired (415) 703-6846 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . To avoid discontinuance of service, enclose a deposit for the amount of the bill, made payable to the California Public Utilities Commission. Upon receipt of the deposit, the Commission will review the basis of the dispute and disburse the deposit accordingly. The Commission will not, however, accept deposits when the dispute appears to be over matters that do not relate to the accuracy of the bill. Such matters include the quality of a utility's service, general level of rates, pending rate applications and sources of fuel or power."
5. The bill may contain charges for sewer service, garbage service or trash collection if the Commission has allowed the changes to Tariff Rule 112 and the local sewer, garbage or trash agency has entered into a written contract with the water company to bill for these services3. However, the water company may not shut off water service if the other service is unpaid.
6. Main Extension Contract Forms
7. Miscellaneous Forms. The following forms, if used must be included in the tariff book: Application for Water Service, Application for Change in Water Service, Portable Meter Deposit, Late Notice, Service Termination Notice, Closing Bill, Deposit Form, and any other forms or contracts the utility requires customers to sign.
8. Application for Water Service. This for may request personal information, including social security number, driver's license number, date of birth, employer, work number and home phone number; however, except for purposes of determining an applicant's qualification for a low income ratepayer assistance program, a water company cannot require as a condition of service that an applicant provide his or her social security number. The form should note that providing one's social security number is voluntary, and that service shall not be denied for failure to provide such information4.
9. Release of Customer Information to the Public. Public Utilities Code Section 588 reads in part:
"in no case shall information be released disclosing customer usage of the services provided by the utility without a court order or subpoena."
It then goes on to describe what steps must be taken to get customer information, but says in Section 588 (b) (3):
"(3) This section does not authorize inspectors and investigators to obtain any utility customer information, other than that authorized by this section without service of process as required by law."
WATER RATE INFORMATION***********SAVE THIS SHEET
This sheet explains our water rates and shows how a sample bill is calculated. We will mail you a sheet like this one once a year or whenever there is a rate increase.
You pay us a service charge (a fee for being connected to the system) which stays the same no matter how much water you use. You also pay a quantity rate or a charge for each cubic foot (one cubic foot is about 7 1/2 gallons) of water that you use. Reducing your water use will save you money by reducing the quantity charge (the fee for each gallon) that you pay. However, using less water will not save you money on the service charge because it stays the same no matter how much water you use.
Here are the rates we now charge: (Laguna Hills Water Co.)
If your meter is this size You pay this much per month:
5/8 by 3/8 inch (most homes have these) $3.20
¾ inch 3.50
1 inch 4.80
1 1/2 inch 6.00
2 inch 9.00
(If your meter is larger than 2 inches, call us for the service charge)
The first 300 cubic feet (or about 2250 gallons) of water that you use in a month costs 85.8 cents per hundred cubic feet (or about 1.1 cents for each then gallons).
If you use more than 300 cubic feet (most people do), each hundred cubic feet that you buy in addition to the initial 300 cubic feet costs you 7.1 cents or 1 cent for each ten gallons.
FOR EXAMPLE: Let's say that you used 500 cubic feet (or about 3800 gallons) of water this month and you have the smallest (5/8 by 3/4 inch) meter. How much is your bill?
The service charge is $3.20.
You used 500 cubic feet. The first 300 cubic feet costs 85.8 cents per hundred cubic feet. The charge for the first 300 cubic feet is 3 x 85.8 cents or $2.57.
There are 200 cubic feet left to be paid for. The price for them is 71.7 cents for each one hundred cubic feet. 2 x 71.7 cents is $1.43.
Your total bill is $3.20 + $2.57 + $1.43 = $7.20
(Name of Water Company)
Connection Fee Data Form for Service to _____________________________________
(Name of Customer)
I. Local Government Permits and Fees
Name of Agency Name of Fee Cost
1 ________________________________ ____________________ $ ______
2 ________________________________ ____________________ ______
3 ________________________________ ____________________ ______
4 ________________________________ ____________________ ______
5 Total (Add lines 1 through 4) $ ______
A. Service Pipe
6 Type (e.g., copper) __________________________
7 Unit cost = $ _______________ per foot of length
8 Length of service pipe = _______________ feet
(Use typical connection in your service area)
Pipe Cost = Unit cost (Line 7) x Length (Line 8)
Pipe Cost = $_________ /ft. x _________ ft. = $ _________
II. Materials (continued)
B. Other than Service Pipe
10 Saddle tap $ __________
11 Valve (corp stop) __________
12 Valve (meter stop) __________
13 Cast concrete box __________
14 Meter __________
Other (describe) __________
15 _________________________ __________
16 _________________________ __________
17 Subtotal (Add Lines 10 through 16) __________
18 Miscellaneous allowance (5% of Line 17) __________
19 Total (Add Lines 17 and 18) $ __________
Labor for tapping main, installing valves, setting meter and meter box (not applicable to flat rate service), and all other hardware work regardless of the length of service pipe.
Tapping cost = Avg. time for tapping x hourly rate
For metered service:
20 Tapping cost = _______ hr. x $ _______ /hr. = $ __________
For flat-rate service:
21 Tapping cost = _______ hr. x $ _______ /hr. = $ __________
B. Earth Work
Labor and Equipment for trenching and compaction of backfill.
22 Length of trench = ____________ feet
(Use typical connection in your service area)
II1. Installation (continued)
B. Earth Work (continued)
Cost = Avg time x hourly rate
23 Operator cost = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
24 Laborer cost = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
25 ___________ = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
26 Total Labor (Add Lines 23 through 25) $_______
Cost = Avg. time x hourly rate
27 Backhoe cost = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
28 Compactor cost = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
29 _____________ = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
30 _____________ = _______ hr. x $ _______/hr. = $_______
31 Total Equipment (Add Lines 27 thru 30) $_______
C. Pavement replacement (including base)
32 Pavement type (e.g., asphalt concrete) ______________________
33 Unit cost = $_______ /ft.
34 Length of pavement = __________ feet
(Use typical connection in your service area)
35 Cost = Unit cost (Line 33) x Avg. Length (Line 34)
36 Pavement Cost = $ __________ / ft. x ___________ = $ __________
(Line 33) (Line 34)
IV. Total Cost of Service Connection
Cost = Local Gov't Fees + Materials + Installation
Local Gov't Fees + (Service Pipe = Other than Service Pipe)
+ (Tapping + Labor for Earth Work + Equipment for Earth Work
+ Pavement Replacement)
IV. Total Cost of Service Connection (continued)
Cost = (continued)
37 = ________ + (________ + ________) +
(Line 5) (Line 9) (Line 19)
(_____________ + _________ + _________ + ________)
(Line 20 or 21) (Line 26) (Line 31) (Line 36)
38 = $ ______________ (rounded to nearest $10)
V. Federal Income Tax Gross-up
Connection Fee = Total Cost + (Total Cost) x (Tax Rate)
39 = ________ + (__________) x 15%
(Line 38) (Line 38)
40 = $ __________ (rounded to nearest $10)
Notes to Customer:
You have the right, if you disagree with this estimate, to appeal to the California Public Utilities Commission, Water Branch, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. Please include a copy of this completed form, annotated to show the costs with which you disagree.
You may choose to have this work done at your own expense by a licensed contractor subject to inspection by the utility. The inspection fee for this installation is $__________.
Owner or Utility Representative
1. This Connection Fee Data Form is available to Class C and Class D water utilities and Class A and Class B utility districts of subsidiaries serving 2,000 or fewer connections. The blank Connection Fee Data Form must be filed in the tariffs of a utility seeking to assess a connection fee.
2. When the Connection Fee Data Form is filed in a utility's tariffs, the completed form showing costs of installation must be presented to all new individual customers seeking installation of a connection.
3. At the time a completed Connection Fee Data Form is presented to a customer, the utility must advise the customer, in writing, of the following:
a. An applicant for a water utility connection who disputes the fees set forth by the utility in its Connection Fee Data Form may file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102-3298
b. An applicant for a water utility connection may, as an alternative to connection by the utility, have the connection performed by a contractor deemed qualified by the utility. Such installation must be done in accordance with utility specifications. Such installation is subject to inspection and approval of a utility, at an inspection fee rate of $ _____ per hour. At completion of the installation, applicant must provide the utility with a copy of the contractor's invoice for the installation.
4. The Total Service Connection Cost (Line 38) represents a typical service connection in your service area for one service size. A separate calculation is required for each size.
5. Separate calculations are required for metered and flat rate service.
6. It is assumed that if procedures and equipment other than those included above are selected for a particular (but typical) installation (e.g., boring rather than trenching), it is because it is more economical for that particular installation. There is no need for special provisions for such cases.
7. The utility may request a deviation from its Connection Fees tariff and charge the actual cost of installation for any service for which the Total Cost of Service Connection exceeds the typical cost (Line 38) by three times.
8. Connection fees are assumed to be in the first $50,000 of income for which the federal income tax rate is 15%.