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TID makes changes to billing statements

New look features details on energy use, costs

POSTED October 23, 2012 7:21 p.m.

Those familiar brown – and sometimes pink – envelopes holding Turlock Irrigation District bills will soon stop arriving in customers’ mailboxes.

For the first time since 1999, the TID will redesign the billing statement it mails to customers, and the envelope that statement is mailed in.

“This is wonderful,” said TID Board of Directors President Michael Frantz. “I think it looks awesome.”

The new bill will include much more detail than the current document. Energy usage will be listed by tier, better explaining how much electricity consumers use and how much that energy costs.

The additional information could be confusing for customers at first, said Nancy Folly, TID customer service department manager.

“It’s going to generate calls initially, because they’re going to feel like we’ve changed the rate structure,” Folly said.

But that extra information should empower customers to make better decisions about their energy usage. Previously, TID customers didn’t have easy access to the per-unit costs; with the extra granularity, customers can see just how much that tier 3 electricity costs.

The back side of the bill will also change, adding more detail explaining the various electrical charges. The switch is intended to help customers understand their bills, reducing confusion due to lack of information.

“I think it’s going to help in the long run,” Folly said.

In efforts to keep the more detailed document easy to read, the due date and total due will be highlighted in yellow on the bill. Customers can choose to ignore the rest of the bill information if they so wish.

The new statement will be shipped in a more traditional, white envelope. Customers should keep their eyes peeled for the new bills, TID representatives said, not throw away the envelope thinking it unimportant.

“A lot of customers don’t pay until they get the pink envelope,” Folly said.

When a TID bill goes delinquent, currently customers first receive a disconnect notice. Then, should payment not be tendered, a pink envelope arrives containing a “final disconnect” notice.

The language will change with the new bills, with that first disconnect notice becoming a delinquent notice. The document more explicitly warns about the various costs associated with disconnection – service charges, an extra deposit, and reconnection fees among them.

“We're hoping it adds incentives to pay before they get scheduled for disconnection,” Folly said.

The final disconnection notices will no longer arrive in pink envelopes, but will have red ink prominently featured on the bill. The back of that bill has been modified to include information about TID’s rate assistance programs.

Customers should start receiving the new bills sometime in mid-to-late November, though a final date has yet to be decided.

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