Fresno's new utility bills look like this ... similar to a PG&E bill - with a detailed breakdown of water usage. And instead of arriving in the mailbox once every two months ... they will come every month.
The city of Fresno has been sending out utility bills every other month for as long as anyone can remember. The reason is because utilities used to be cheap ... and it was cost effective to send out that bill only every other month. But now that utilities are higher ... it's cost effective to send them out every month. The change comes at the same time the city has begun installing water meters. Under new federal guidelines ... beginning in 2013 the state has to track total water consumption...
Fresno Revenue Manager Brian Reams said, "That's one of the primary reasons for the change ... it's to include the consumption data ... how many gallons of water you're using per month and how we're billing on that."
He says the city will continue billing for water at the flat rate until two months after water meters are in so residents can see how much water they're actually using. While many residents aren't looking forward to possibly paying more for water with a meter installed ... most of those we spoke with in the Tower District are looking forward to a bill every month.
Louis Strasser said, "I prefer it actually because every month I know what I have to pay."
Shannon Frazer says, "I know I get paid once a month, so it's easier to track ... so it's better ... as long as they don't raise the rates."
Since rates are set by the Public Utilities Commission ... they won't go up unless the P-U-C says they do. The new bills will be arriving in mailboxes for the next month and a half ... the first batch -- 65-hundred -- go out Wednesday night.