Golden State Water Policy of Discontinuation of Residential Services for Nonpayment

GSWC bills are due and payable upon date of presentation.  When bills are rendered monthly or bimonthly, they will be considered past due (delinquent) if not paid within 19 days from the date of mailing.  It is the responsibility of every customer to pay the bill in full and on time.  GSWC will allow every residential customer a total of 79 days from the date of mailing its bill, to make full payment of the bill prior to discontinuance of service.  Information on how to avoid discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment is available by calling 800-999-4033.  For the purposes of this policy, residential service means water service to a residential connection that includes single-family residences, multifamily residences, mobilehomes, including, but not limited to, mobilehomes in mobilehome parks, or farmworker housing.

Alternate Payment Arrangements

GSWC understands that customers may experience financial hardship and may periodically be unable to pay their bill.  If prior to, or upon receipt of a discontinuance notice, a residential customer is unable to pay, he or she must contact GSWC by calling 800-999-4033 before discontinuance of service to request a deferred (paying at a later date), reduced (spreading payments out over an agreed upon period of time not to exceed 12 months), or some other alternative payment schedule to avoid discontinuance of service.  Services will not be discontinued for nonpayment for any customer who complies with an alternate payment arrangement entered into with GSWC, as long as the customer also keeps current on his or her account for water service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.  If a customer fails to comply with an alternate payment arrangement, GSWC will give a discontinuance of service notice, at least 5 business days before discontinuing service.  The customer will not be entitled to any further investigation or alternative payment arrangements by GSWC.

Residential Health and Safety Exception

Service to a residential water customer will not be discontinued for nonpayment when such customer establishes to the satisfaction of GSWC that all three of the following conditions are met:

a) The residential customer submits certification from a primary care provider, as defined by the Water Shutoff Protection Act, that discontinuation of residential water 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,

b) The residential customer demonstrates that she or he is financially unable to pay for residential service within the GSWC’s normal billing cycle, and

c) The residential customer is willing to enter into a deferred (paying at a later date), reduced (spreading payments out over an agreed upon period of time not to exceed 12 months), or some other alternative payment schedule.

Notice of Discontinuance of Residential Water Service for Nonpayment

GSWC will not discontinue residential service for nonpayment of a delinquent account unless GSWC first gives notice of the delinquency and impeding discontinuance, in accordance with Rule No. 8.A.3.  This establishes notice periods ranging from 7 to 15 days, depending on the occupancy type.  Where the owner, manager, or operator of the dwelling, structure, or park is listed by GSWC as the customer of record, and water service is provided to residential occupants, GSWC will make every good faith effort to inform the residential occupants, by written notice in accordance with Rule No. 8.A.3.b.

Disputed Bill

Petition for Bill Review

Any customer (or adult occupant of a  residential service address) who disputes the accuracy of their water bill may petition GSWC to review the disputed bill by calling 800-999-4033.   The customer will not have the water discontinued for nonpayment while an investigation by GSWC is pending, provided that:

a) customer has submitted a petition for review within 5 days of receiving the disputed bill, and b) customer has made alternate payment arrangements, where he/she asserts the bill is beyond their means to pay in full within the normal period of payment, prior to discontinuance of service in accordance to Rule Nos. 5 and 10.

Appeal to the Commission

Any customer (or adult occupant of a residential service address) who is not satisfied with GSWC’s response to their petition for review or request for an investigation, may appeal the Commission in accordance with Rule Nos. 5 and 10 (including depositing the disputed amount with the Commission).  Billing complaints are handled by the CPUC’s Consumer Affairs Branch (CAB) and can be submitted online: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/complaints/, by telephone: 1-800-649-7570 (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday) or by mail: California Public Utilities Commission, Consumer Affairs Branch, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2003, San Francisco, CA 94102.  The appeal of the disputed bill to the Commission shall be in accordance with the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. Written documentation of an appeal filed and diligently pursued with the Commission will prevent discontinuation of residential water service during the official appeal process.

Discontinuation for Nonpayment

When a bill for water service has become past due and a discontinuance of service notice for nonpayment has been issued, service may be discontinued if bill is not paid in full (or alternative payment arrangements acceptable to GSWC have not been made) within the time required by the notice. The customer’s service, however, will not be discontinued for nonpayment until the amount of any deposit made to establish credit for the service has been fully absorbed.  Service will not be discontinued for nonpayment of service on any Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or at any time during which GSWC business offices are not open to the public.  GSWC will avoid disconnection of service on Fridays and a day prior to a holiday.

Restoration of Service

Once services are discontinued for nonpayment, only a full payment for the delinquent balance will be accepted to restore service.  GSWC will charge a $40.00 reconnection fee for service restored during regular working hours or a $120.00 after hour reconnection fee when the customer has requested that the reconnection be made outside of regular working hours in accordance to Rule No. 11.  GSWC may require a deposit amount of twice the average monthly or bimonthly bill to be rendered to re-establish credit for a customer whose service has been discontinued for nonpayment in accordance to Rule No. 7.  Payments made through the automated telephone system, online via the internet or at an authorized third party retailer may not post to the customer’s account for 24-48 hours, therefore customers must report their payment to assure their services are restored.

 

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