ARVIN’S COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
POLICY ON DISCONTINUANCE OF RESIDENTIAL WATER SERVICES
1. Purpose. This policy has been established to comply with Senate Bill 998, known as the “Water Shutoff Protection Act” and approved by the Governor on September 28, 2018.
2. Effective Date. This policy shall be effective on April 1, 2020.
3. Published Languages. This policy and written notices required in this policy shall be available and published in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by at least 10 percent of the people residing in the District’s water service area.
4. Requirements Precedent to Discontinuing Water Service.
A. The District shall not discontinue residential service for nonpayment until a payment by a customer has been delinquent for at least sixty (60) days. No less than seven (7) business days before discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment, the District shall contact the customer named on the account by telephone or written notice. A customer may contact the District office at (661) 854-2127 to discuss options for averting discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment.
B. When the District contacts the customer named on the account by telephone pursuant to subparagraph (A), staff shall offer to provide in writing to the customer this Policy. District staff shall offer to discuss options to avert discontinuation of service for nonpayment, and offer at least one of the following to the customer: alternative payment schedules, deferred payments, minimum payments, procedures for requesting amortization of the unpaid balance. In addition, the customer shall be made aware of the process for bill review and appeal.
C. When the District contacts the customer named on the account by written notice pursuant to subparagraph (A), the written notice of payment delinquency and impeding discontinuation shall be mailed to the customer of the residence to which the residential service is provide, the notice also shall be sent to the address of the property to which residential service is provided, addressed to “Occupant.” The notice shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following information in a clear and legible format:
(i) The customer’s name and address.
(ii) The amount of the delinquency.
(iii) The date by which payment or arrangement for payment is required in order to avoid discontinuation of residential service, which shall be sixty (60) days from the date that the bill became delinquent unless extended by the discretion of the General Manager.
(iv) A description of the process to apply for an extension of time to pay the delinquent charges.
(v) A description of the procedure to petition for bill review and appeal.
(vi) A description of the procedure by which the customer may request a deferred, reduced, or alternative payment schedule, including an amortization of the delinquent residential service charges.
5. Good Faith Noticing Requirements.
A. If the District is unable to make contact with the customer or an adult occupying the residence by telephone, and written notice is returned through the mail as undeliverable, the District shall make a good faith effort to visit the residence and leave, or make other arrangements for placement in a conspicuous place of, a notice of imminent discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment and the District’s policy for discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment.
B. If an adult at the residence appeals the water bill to the District or any other administrative or legal body to which such an appeal may be lawfully taken, the District shall not discontinue residential service while the appeal is pending.
6. Petition for Water Bill Review and Appeal Process.
A. Should a customer have a complaint or dispute with regard to service or the accuracy of a bill or other charges, the customer has the right to meet with the General Manager, or designee, to discuss the dispute and present any evidence the customer has to support his or her position. In the case of disputes over bills, the customer shall be required to submit his/her complaint, request for a meeting or request for initiation of an investigation in writing not later than ten (10) days of his/her receipt of the disputed bill.
B. At the meeting with the General Manager, or designee, the customer must present evidence to support their position and may be accompanied by a representative. The General Manager shall make a written decision regarding the customers’ dispute within five (5) days of the meeting with the customer.
C. If the customer is not satisfied with the decision of the General Manager, the customer may appeal that decision to the Board of Directors. An appeal must be submitted in writing within fourteen (14) days of the General Manager’s decision, with a full and detailed explanation, to the Board for resolution. The General Manager shall make every effort to set a hearing on the dispute for the next regularly scheduled Board meeting and shall cause notice of such hearing to be given to the customer.
D. The General Manager shall prepare for the Board a written report concerning the dispute, summarizing the facts, action to date, his/her specific findings with regard to the disposition of the matter. At the hearing, the customer may present any evidence in support of his or her position and ask for a decision by the Board.
E. The Board shall act promptly to resolve the dispute, but may delay a resolution of the dispute to a subsequent regular meeting in order to investigate the dispute or receive special reports related to the dispute. Any further delays shall be freely and willingly agreed to by the customer.
F. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final. Should the Board not render a decision within sixty (60) days of receipt of the appeal to the Board, this failure to act shall be deemed a denial of the requested action, unless the District has informed the customer in writing of its intention to extend the resolution period.
7. Prohibition Against Discontinuing Residential Water Service.
A. The District shall not discontinue residential service for nonpayment if all of the following conditions are met:
(i) The customer, or tenant of the customer, submits to the District the certification of a primary care provider, as the term is defined in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 14088 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, that discontinuation of residential service will be life threatening to, or pose a serious threat to the health and safety, of a resident of the premises where residential service is provided.
(ii) The customer demonstrates that he or she is financially unable to pay for residential service within the District’s normal billing cycle. The customer shall be deemed financially unable to pay for residential service within the District’s normal billing cycle if any member of the customer’s household is a current recipient of CalWORKs, CalFresh, general assistance, Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment Program, or California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or the customer declares that the household’s annual income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
(iii) The customer is willing to enter into an amortization agreement, alternative payment schedule, or a plan for deferred or reduced payment with respect to all delinquent charges that is offered by the District.
B. If the conditions listed above are not met, the District shall offer the customer one or more of the following options:
(i) Amortization of the unpaid balance.
(ii) Participation in an alternative payment schedule.
(iii) A partial or full reduction of the unpaid balance financed without additional charges to other rate payers, if funds have been provided to the District to be able to do so.
(iv) Temporary deferral of payment.
C. The General Manager is authorized to determine which of the payment options
described in paragraph (B) will be offered to the customer and may set the parameters of that payment option provided that the repayment of any remaining outstanding balance occurs within 12 months, and further provided that the General Manager may only approve a partial or a full reduction of the unpaid balance if that reduction can be funded with revenues that the District Board of Directors has received and transferred into the Water Fund budget explicitly for the purpose of doing so.
D. Residential service may be discontinued no sooner than five (5) business days after the District posts a final notice of intent to disconnect service in prominent and conspicuous location at the property under either of the following circumstances:
(i) The customer fails to comply with an amortization agreement, an alternative payment schedule, or a deferral or reduction in payment plan for delinquent charges for sixty (60) days or more.
(ii) While undertaking an amortization agreement, an alternative payment schedule, or deferral or reduction in payment plan for delinquent charges, the customer does not pay his or her current residential service charges for sixty (60) days or more.
8. Restoration of Water Service.
A. The District shall provide the customer with information on how to restore residential service. For a residential customer who demonstrates to the District that the household income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, the District shall do both of the following:
(i) Set reconnection of service fee for reconnection during normal operating hours in an amount that does not exceed fifty dollars ($50), or the actual cost of reconnection if it is less. For the reconnection of residential service during nonoperational hours, the District shall set a reconnection of service fee that does not exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), or the actual cost of reconnection during nonoperational hours if it is less.
(ii) The maximum amount of $50 for reconnection during operational hours and $150 during nonoperational hours shall be subject to an annual adjustment for changes in the Consumer Price Index beginning January 1, 2021. The District shall use the average of the Los Angeles area and San Francisco area for determining the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
(iii) Waive interest charges on delinquent bills once every 12 months.
B. The District shall deem a residential customer to have a household income below 200 percent of the federal poverty line if any member of the household is a current recipient of CalWORKs, CalFresh, general assistance, Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program, or California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or the customer declares that the household’s annual income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
9. Services involving Landlord-Tenant Relationships.
A. If the District furnishes individually metered residential service to residential occupants of a detached single-family dwelling, a multiunit residential structure, mobilehome park, or permanent residential structure in a labor camp as defined in Section 17008, and the owner, manager, or operator of the dwelling, structure, or park if the customer of record, the District shall make every good faith effort to inform the residential occupants, by means of written notice, when the account is in arrears that service will be terminated at least ten (10) days prior to the termination. The written notice shall further inform the residential occupants that they have the right to become customers, to whom the service will then be billed, without being required to pay any amount which may be due on the delinquent account.
B. The District shall not make service available to the residential occupants unless each residential occupant agrees to the terms and conditions of service and meets the requirements of law and the District’s ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations. However, if one or more of the residential occupants are willing and able to assume responsibility for the subsequent charges to the account to the satisfaction of the District, including requirements which may include but not limited to payment of a deposit of $125 and completion of a District application for service so that the General Manager, or designee, can evaluate whether the District is satisfied that the residential applicants can meet the terms and conditions of service, or if there is a physical means legally available for the District to selectively terminate service to those residential occupants who have not met the requirements of the District, the District shall make service available to those residential occupants who the District is satisfied can meet the terms and conditions of service.
10. Reporting Requirements. The District shall annually report the number of discontinuations for residential service for inability to pay on the District’s Internet Web site and to the State Water Resources Control Board.
11. Limitations of this Policy. Nothing in this policy restricts, limits or otherwise impairs the District’s ability to terminate service to a customer for reasons other than those explicitly stated in this Policy including but not limited to unauthorized actions of the customer.
12. Other Actions to Secure Collection of Delinquent Charges.
A. Pursuant to Government Code section 61115(a)(3)(C), the District penalize a customer for the nonpayment of charges at a rate of ten percent (10%), plus an additional penalty of one percent (1%) per month for the nonpayment of the charges.
B. Pursuant to Government Code Section 61115(b), the District may collect any delinquent charges and penalties on the tax roll in the same manner as property taxes.
C. Pursuant to Government Code Section 61115(c), the Board of Directors authorizes the General Manager or designee to execute a certificate declaring on a form approved by District legal counsel the amount of the delinquent charges and penalties due and the name and last known address of the person liable for the delinquent charges and penalties, and to record said certificate in the office of the Kern County Recorder in accordance with procedures established by the General Manager. Said procedures shall include a provision that recording the certificate can only occur after notifying the customer of the District’s intent to record the certificate, that the customers have ten (10) business days to inform the District if the customer intends to appeal the recording of the certificate to the Board of Directors, and if the customer appeals, then the certificate can only be recorded after the Board of Directors considers the appeal and only if the Board of Directors directs that the certificate is recorded.Resolución 20-20, Traduccion en español.pdfResolution 20_Filipino Translation - version2.pdfTRANSLATION VIETNAMESE WATER SERVICE.pdfResolution, 20-02, Korean.pdf20-02 Policy on Residential Water Services, Chinese Translation.pdf