It was disappointing to read a letter from a resident (Lodi News-Sentinel, Thursday, Feb. 23) who described the city's utility billing practices as "terrorist" and "racist," and made other false representations.
Most residents pay their bills in a timely manner and do not receive shut-off notices or pay late fees. Those who steal electricity, or refuse to pay for it, add an unfair financial burden to our responsible ratepayers.
Collecting from customers who are reluctant to pay has a price that should not be borne by others. The city does not fine late payers, but requires some of them to provide a deposit that could offset unpaid bills in the future. Those who pay on time for a year are reimbursed in full.
Also, the city requirement that customers present U.S.-issued identification when beginning utility service is an element of the 2003 FACT Act, a federal law aimed in part at reducing identity theft crime.
Recent changes to the city's billing methods have reduced the amount of unpaid bills absorbed by ratepayers, and ensured that those who sign up for service are, indeed, who they say they are. These measures benefit the community.
Deputy City Manager
City of Lodi