City pilots pre-disconnect notice

By Pat Sunderland

City staff has found success with a program that provides a 24-hour pre-disconnect notice to electric customers whose accounts are about to be shut off. Steve Glammeyer, city utilities director, reports that the number of shutoffs has been reduced by 70 percent.

To cover the cost of this program, he's recommending a $10 fee be incorporated into the municipal code. The fee is one of several changes considered by the Delta City Council Oct. 18. Action was tabled after council requested more information on a proposal to bill property owners, not tenants, for utility costs.

Glammeyer also proposed a $10 fee for "courtesy" turn-on/off servicerequests outside of normal business hours. He also cited one example where a rate payer requested water turn-on and turn-off seven times in one weekend for a sprinkler repair.

Typically these requests come during non-working hours, Glammeyer said, and end up costing all of the rate payers in additional overtime expenditures. "This change allows us to collect a small fee to cover the costs for either turn-on or turn-off requests that are 'non-emergency' in nature," Glammeyer said.

A third change would allow staff to immediately "ticket" an individual for tampering with utilities. Currently, the only recourse for such action is to cite the individual into municipal court.

No utility rate increases are proposed, but Glammeyer suggested rates internally be tweaked to reflect a changeover to LED street lights in the city. The municipal light and power department will embark on a 10-year program of LED conversions in 2017.