ARLINGTON – Arlington utility customers may see a change in their billing date in the coming weeks, but rest easy – the rates won’t change.
The utility billing process for years has operated on two cycles, with one group billed on the 15th of the month and the other group billed on the 1st, largely due to staff lacking time or manpower to manually read all meters.
Effective April 1, the city will synchronize its utility billing dates and transition to a single cycle per month so that all 6,000 customers will be billed on the 1st, city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.
Customers will get a “catch up” bill in March to close out utility usage from Feb. 16-28. The bill will only include the base rates for water, sewer and storm water and will be due April 20.
Banfield said combining billing into a single cycle will make the system more efficient, reducing staff time and keeping overall costs down.
“When we were physically reading meters, we couldn’t cover it all,” Banfield said. “With digital meter reading now, we can consolidate. We can do in a day or day and a half what it used to take six days to do.”
Customers in the group whose billing date is set to change will see their first true monthly bill around April 1, which will cover utility usage for March.
Banfield said Xpress Bill Pay users will need to update their due dates and payment limits to align with the change.
During the transition, the city will waive late fees and shut offs for one month until May 20. Customers who need to make payment arrangements can contact Utility Billing staff at 360-403-3421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If necessary, the Arlington Community Resource Center hosts budgeting classes two times a month that may offer tips to help customers budget for the change. Contact the center at 360-386-7989.
Banfield said the city wanted to give customers plenty of notice, and have enclosed a letter in the next mailing that explains the coming change.