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All residents of West University Place will need to set up utility service. Our city does not "transfer" services from one owner to the next or from landlord to renter. Each party is responsible for connecting service and then terminating service when they leave the city or move to another residence in the city. You will be responsible for the account until it is terminated by you whether you still reside there or not. You will need to contact the utility billing department at 713.662.5824 to set up service or come to the Finance Department at City Hall.
Before doing so, please read the following so that you have the necessary documents available.
As a home owner, you do not pay a deposit but you do pay a $50 connection fee. The Utility Department requires a photo identification of the owner and spouse, adult roommate or adult partner. The driver's license is used for identification purposes only. The department will discuss utility issues such as billing with only persons listed on that account, so it is imperative that we have all the vital information. We will also need the front page of your purchase contract or other proof of ownership to verify that you are the home owner of the location for which you want service. The connection fee will be charged on your first month's billing. Documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
As a renter, you will pay a deposit of $180 in addition to a $50 connection fee. The Utility Department requires a photo identification of the renter and spouse, adult roommate or adult partner. The driver's license is used for identification purposes only. The department will discuss utility issues such as billing with only persons listed on that account, so it is imperative that we have all the vital information. We will also need the front page of your lease agreement to verify that you are the renter of the location for which you want service. The deposit and connection fee will be charged on your first month's billing. When you leave the city or change residences, the deposit will be applied to your final bill; you will then be billed for the remainder of your final bill or will receive a refund, whichever is appropriate. Documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
If you come into the office, please bring photo identification for all adults as listed above as well as the contract or lease agreement information as required. If you call the department, please be prepared to FAX (713.662.5804), email or bring those documents to City Hall. Service will not be scheduled until the department has received the documents; documentation MUST be received by 4:00 p.m. the business day before connection.
Owners of new construction --- you will not be able to start a utility account until AFTER your certificate of occupancy is received in the Finance office. Moving into a home while still under the builder's name may result in fines.
All residents of West University Place are required to terminate utility service when they move from one residence to another residence within the city or when they move from West University Place. Our city does not "transfer" services from one owner to the next or from renter back to landlord. Each resident is responsible for connecting service and then terminating service when they leave the city or move to another residence in the city. The resident (renter or owner) is legally responsible for the account until it is properly terminated whether they still reside in West University Place or not. You are not released from legal liability until the termination process has been completed as follows.
Contact the utility billing department at 713.662.5824 or come to the Finance Department at City Hall to schedule the termination of your utility service. If you call the office, you will be required to also provide written verification of the termination information by FAX (713.662.5804) or e-mail to email@example.com. The termination form includes, and requires, all of the following information:• Name of the account • Address for service termination • Rent or own? • Daytime contact number • Forwarding address • Date requested for termination (no same day, no holidays, no weekend) • Signature of account holder
As a renter, you paid a deposit of $180 in addition to a $50 connection fee. When you leave the city or change residences, the deposit will be applied to your final bill; you will then be billed for any remainder or will receive a refund, whichever is appropriate. Without your termination information, we will be unable to provide refunds.
If you choose to use this option, you must fill out the "Automatic Bill Paying Application." Return the application with a VOIDED check to 3800 University Blvd. Depending on the time of the month you make application, your next payment could be drafted; please be sure to ask staff. For more information, call LaVerne at 713.662.5824.
NOTE: If you choose to use this program, it is your responsibility to inform the Utility Department when you have changes to your checking account, such as the closing of one account and opening of a new account, the sale of a bank resulting in change to routing or account numbers, etc.
Payments and Bills page.
Because people and equipment are being utilized, errors can happen; that is why the city offers residents the opportunity to file for an adjustment once a year for an unusually large bill due to a defect or some unknown cause. Understand that when the utility staff tells you to monitor your account for more than one bill, it is not to get more money from you, but to get to the real reason for the increase if it is not due to increased water usage. The adjustment is only allowed once per 12-month period; if you file for it after one high bill and you have a leak, then you lose the chance to recoup some of the loss for additional affected months.
City Council passed Ordinance 1969 on February 25, 2013, which allows the late fee to be waived by approval of the city manager and finance director under certain conditions. Any approved waiver will be applied to the following month's utility statement. To request the waiving of a late fee, the user must: • make written request within 30 days of the delinquent notice to firstname.lastname@example.org• have not received a waiver for late fees within the preceding 24-month period.
EXAMPLE: The due date is Monday, October 11, and payment is dropped in the box BEFORE 7 am on Tuesday, October 12; that payment is considered on-time. A payment placed in the box at 8 am October 12 is late.
City Council passed Ordinance 1969 on February 25, 2013, which allows the late fee to be waived by approval of the city manager and finance director under certain conditions. Any approved waiver will be applied to the following month's utility statement.
To request the waiving of a late fee, the user must:• make written request within 30 days of the delinquent notice to email@example.com • have not received a waiver for late fees within the preceding 24-month period.
EXAMPLE: you move into your home in West University on June 1. On June 30 your meter is read and the data is uploaded. Following calculations, the bill is sent to the billing service which bills you on July 24. By the time your bill is due on August 13, you are paying for services that began approximately two and one-half months before.
How many other companies allow you to do that? Your rent/mortgage is due when you move in; your grocery bill is due when you get to the register; your restaurant bill is due at the end of the meal; and the Astros require you to pay for tickets before you watch them play. If you find that you can not pay your current utility bill, contact the finance department and discuss the situation. Payment plans can be arranged if needed. No one wants to cut off services, but the city must be good stewards of the taxpayers' moneys.
EXAMPLE: In October W.U. Resident got a $700 utility bill which he cannot pay in total. He contacts the office and agrees to pay $50 each month toward his delinquent bill. His November bill is $400; W.U. Resident will have to pay $450 by the due date or face termination of his services. This additional extra each month will continue until the account is caught up and current.
To prevent termination of services, a resident MUST bring the account current or set up a payment plan to have the service turned back on. If a resident uses a credit card to bring their account current before termination, the Finance Office MUST be contacted as soon as the payment is made to allow staff time to verify payment and stop the termination process; payments made at the window will be automatically credited at the time of payment, stopping the termination process. It is the resident's responsibility to inform the Utility Department that payment has been made if not at the customer service window.
Service is normally restored during business hours; it can be restored after hours, weekends or holidays at an additional cost so it is very important that you respond promptly to the reminder letters. If your service is disconnected, we will still take payments in the form of cash, check, money order or credit card. However, the payment SHOULD be done in the office in person to ensure a quick reconnection.
We will not reconnect until we receive the payment. If you put a check in the mail, it generally takes 3 days to arrive; if a weekend or holiday is involved, the time may be longer. It is in your best interest to bring the payment to the counter and pay in person. If you place it in the utility drop box during the day, it will not be processed until the next morning as the box run is between 7-7:15 am each day. If you choose to pay by credit card, you MUST contact our office and let us know that a payment has been made so that we can verify if and apply it to your account. Again, it is to your benefit to come into the office and pay by credit card with staff.
If you have problems remembering to pay because of busy schedules, you might want to consider a free automatic draft on your checking account, done in-house on the monthly due date, or recurring credit card payments, done online through Citizen Access. If interested in either of the options, let us know.
We don't want to turn anyone's service off; please help ensure that does not happen by paying your bill on or before the due date.
Effective June 1, 2016, the solid waste collection fees for residents are as follows:• Residents under 65: $33.99/month o Base fee 31.41o Tax 2.58• Residents over 65: $18.68/month o Base fee 17.26o Tax 1.42
To receive the "0ver 65" reduction, bring your driver's license by the Finance Department during office hours. Staff will copy the license, attach it your account and the reduced rate goes into effect the next billing statement.
• Account holder information; if you are not listed on the account, we can't talk to you about the account. o names of all adults listed on contract or lease o mailing address if different than physical address o current telephone information including home, work and cell o current email address • Driver's license information on all account holders; this is used to verify identity. If driver's license is unavailable, a copy of a current passport will suffice. • Copy of the first page of your sales contract or HCAD documentation of ownership; copy of the first page of a lease if a renter.
• Optional: o legal information for executors including driver's license o divorce decrees to remove a once married spouse from the account o death certificate to remove a deceased spouse from the account o authorization from the account holder for staff to act in behalf
(a) Frequency; when delinquent. All users of utilities, solid waste collection, street lighting and other services furnished by the city will be billed monthly for services rendered. All bills will be due and payable on presentation and will become delinquent on the 21st day following the date mailed. (b) Late charge/waiver of late charge. If a bill becomes delinquent, there is a one-time additional charge of ten percent of the lesser of the amount due or the amount last billed. With the city manager's and finance director's approval the late charge may be waived under the following circumstances: a. The user has submitted a written request for a waiver of the late charge within 30 days of the delinquent notice; andb. The user has not received a waiver for a late charge within the preceding 24-month period.(c) Returned checks. If a check or other instrument is returned, an additional charge may be assessed. The amount of this charge will be determined by the city council. A returned check or other instrument will be treated as if there had been no payment received and retroactive late charges may be assessed.(d) Partial payment. If a partial payment is made, the amount will be allocated to amounts due the city in the following order: (1) First, to any additional fees and charges, such as late charges and returned check charges, then due. (2) Then to the oldest regular charges, applied in this order: a. Current solid waste charges. b. Current street lighting fees. c. Any other charges. d. Current sewer charges. e. Current water charges. (e) Payment agreements. The finance director may agree to allow a delinquent account to be paid over a period of time. The user must agree in writing to a payment schedule. The agreement will not prevent discontinuation of service if the user fails to timely pay both the amount due under the terms of the agreement and current charges during the term of the agreement. (f) Discontinuation of service. If a bill becomes delinquent, the city may give notice that water and sewer services are proposed to be discontinued. The notice will give an opportunity for a hearing with the city manager (or the city manager's designee) before discontinuation. If the delinquency is not resolved after the opportunity for a hearing, the city may discontinue water and sewer services without further notice. (g) Write off of bad debts. If, after all collection efforts have been exhausted, the finance director believes that it is unlikely that the city will be able to collect a delinquent account, the account's status may be changed from active to inactive. With the city manager's approval, the finance director may suspend active collection efforts for an account balance that has been inactive for at least two years.
Sec. 86-35. - Resumption of service.
Utility service will not be restored to a user whose service has been discontinued because of delinquency until the following conditions are met: (1) All delinquent amounts are paid; (2) Any service charges established by the city council are paid; (3) A deposit in the amount established by the city council is paid. The finance director, with the approval of the city manager may waive this requirement. Deposits will be returned, or credited to the account of the user, after the account has not been delinquent for 12 complete months from the day the deposit is made. ===================================================