Effective in mid-April, the City of Tempe started a new practice of leaving automated phone messages for residents who are severely past due on their water accounts, in an effort to reach them with last warnings before shutoff. The calls allow residents who are more than 56 days past due to become current on what they owe before city employees are dispatched to shut off the water.
Tempe’s Customer Services Division invested two years ago in a new computer system that enables the city to better serve utility customers in many ways, including allowing households to go paperless and pay bills online. The courtesy calls are another element of added value and functionality provided by the system.
Any customer that is 56 days past due gets a written notice of delinquency in the mail, declaring that they have two weeks to pay the bill before shutoff. Tempe has found that most customers whose water is eventually shut off end up calling in their payments the same day, necessitating a city worker to go out to the home twice – once to shut the water off and once to turn it on. In addition, the resident is charged a $15 reconnection fee if this happens. The city hopes the courtesy calls will help residents and make city operations more efficient by reducing the number of actual shutoffs.
During the two-week period after written notice is mailed to the customer, the city will call the home or cell phone with an automated message. If no one picks up the call, there will be three total attempts. The process applies to residential and commercial water customers.
For more information on the new courtesy calls, contact Customer Services at 480-350-8361.