• Information about the Budget Billing Plan

1. How do you calculate my monthly Budget Billing amount due?

Your monthly payment is based on three items:

1.      Your electricity bill for the past 12 months, divided by 12 and rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

2.      Your water bill for the past 12 months, divided by 12 and rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

3.      Fixed monthly charges for wastewater, solid waste and storm water utility services.

For example, suppose during the last 12 months you paid \$1,365 in electricity bills and \$250 in water bills, and that your other monthly charges are \$24.20 for solid waste (30-gallon can) \$29.67 for wastewater, and \$10.99 for surface water. This is how we would calculate your monthly payment for the Budget Billing Plan:

 Electricity \$1,365 ÷ 12 = \$113.75 \$114.00 Water \$250 ÷ 12 = \$20.83 \$21.00 Solid waste Monthly charge \$24.20 Wastewater Monthly charge \$31.23 Storm water Monthly charge \$11.59 Budget Billing Plan monthly charges \$202.02

During the year, we will automatically evaluate your account after the fourth month and after the eighth month to make sure your budget plan is on track so there are no surprises when it is time to reconcile your account at the end of your 12-month Budget Billing Plan. If your actual charges result in more than a \$5 per month difference in your bill, your budget amount will be recalculated automatically and will appear on the next bill.

2. Why are the reviews after the fourth month and eighth month necessary

We make adjustments after the fourth and eighth month so there are no surprises — particularly unwanted surprises — at the end of your Budget Payment Plan year.

The review will make sure your payments are on track with your previous 12-month billing history. Most people see little or no change in their Budget Billing Plan after the four-month and eight-month reviews. Some customers, however, may experience events that significantly change their Budget Billing Plan amount:

1.      Customers who heat their homes with electricity may use more during colder-than-usual winters and may use less during warmer-than-usual winters. Customers who use air-conditioning in the summer also will use more or less electricity than “normal” based on weather.

2.      Water use may increase during a particularly hot, dry summer.

3.      House guests for an extended period or the arrival of a baby can cause water and electricity use to go up significantly.

4.      Electricity and water use may go down significantly if a child moves away from home.

5.      You may increase or decrease the size of your garbage can

6.      Rates for utility services may change.

The review after the fourth and eighth months will incorporate changes such as the above in your Budget Billing Plan amount.

3. What happens in the 12th month?

At the 12th month, which is the anniversary of when you started, we’ll conduct an annual review of your account. You’ll either have a credit due or you will owe money to bring your account balance to zero.

1.      If you have a credit, it will automatically be applied to your 12th month payment. Any additional credit will be used to pay your next utility bills until it is used up.

2.      If you owe money on your bill, it will be divided by four and added to your next four Budget Billing Plan bills.

We’ll also calculate your next Budget Billing Plan amount for your new 12-month plan.

4. Can I include a deposit in my Budget Billing Plan amount?

No. If you are required to pay a deposit, the amount and a due date will appear on your bill under the heading Adjustments/Deposits. While it will be calculated into the amount due, it is not part of your Budget Billing Plan. Similarly, items listed in Miscellaneous Charges are not included in your Budget Payment Plan.

5. When will my monthly payment be due?

Your monthly payment will be due 10 days after the bill is mailed. The due date will be stated on each bill. The 10-day time frame is consistent with other utility bills. You will receive the benefits of your Budget Billing Plan only if you make each payment when it is due.

If payment is not received, the next bill on the regularly scheduled date will contain a special note in the Information Center indicating that the previous bill is past due and payment must be received within seven days to remain on the Budget Billing Plan. Failure to pay within the seven days will cancel the Budget Billing Plan and normal billing will resume. If the Budget Billing Plan is cancelled for non-payment, or if you chose to discontinue the plan, all outstanding charges will become due and payable immediately.

6. What if I am a renter?

If you rent and are living in a new location, your monthly calculation will be based off the previous tenant’s last 12 months at your rental location. For the most accurate payment you should live at a location for a minimum of 12 months before requesting the budget billing plan.

7. How can I pay my utility bill?

Tacoma Public Utilities offers six ways you can pay your bill.

1.      You can continue to tear off the stub at the bottom of the bill, write a check and mail the check and stub in the self-addressed envelope.

2.      You can pay online at www.tacomaservices.org. Regardless of what payment method you use, you can track your payments online at this Web site.

3.      You can use any of nine PayStations located throughout the Tacoma Power service area. One is at the Public Utilities Administration Building, South 35th Street and Union Avenue; the others are in Safeway stores. For a list, check our Web site at www.tacomapublicutilities.com or call our automated information line, 253-502-8608, and then press 3. You will need your account number to use a PayStation. PayStations accept cash, checks and money orders; residential customers also can use Visa and MasterCard credit cards. You will receive a receipt for every transaction.

4.      You can pay with a Visa or MasterCard using Service+, our automated telephone system. Call 253-502-8608, and then press 2. You will need your account number and your credit card number.

5.      You can use AutoPay to have your payments automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. You can enroll for AutoPay at www.tacomaservices.org or by calling our Customer Services Office at 253-502-8600.

6.      You can pay in person at the Public Utilities Administration Building, South 35th Street and Union Avenue, during regular business hours.

8. Who can I call if I have questions about my Budget Billing Plan?

If you have any questions about the Budget Billing Plan, call our Customer Service Office at 253-502-8600. Telephone hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the lobby is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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If you are currently enrolled in Budget Billing,  you will   notice several improvements in the Budget Billing Plan billing statement:

·         For easier tracking, we’ve separated the Account Balance Summary (on the lower left portion of your bill) and the Budget Billing Summary (on the lower right side of the bill) so you can track your actual account balance and track your budget billing payments, respectively.

·         Your payments throughout the year will be more uniform because we’ve changed how we calculate your bill.

·         You’ll be able to see any adjustments made to your Budget Billing Plan amount after the fourth and eighth months of your plan and at your annual review (see questions 2, 3 and 4 above).