Frequently Asked Questions
Can I pay my utility bills online?
You can also pay your bill with automatic draft - instructions on how to get set up can be found on our Automatic Draft page.
When am I Allowed to Water my Lawn and Yard?
|No watering whatsoever is allowed.|
7 days a week
|No watering from 10am-6pm|
Tues, Thurs, Sat
|even numbered addresses may water
Wed, Fri, Sun
|odd numbered addresses may water
Residents need not adhere to this schedule from the beginning of October until the end of March.
What can I do to help conserve water?
There are many desert plants which can be used to provide a beautiful landscape while requiring much less water. A short list of these plants is located here (106k pdf).
Why is my Bill Higher than Usual?
There are four main possible reasons for a high bill:
- Misread meter - this is rare
- Meter is malfunctioning and running fast - this is very rare
- Customer change in lifestyle or season, and/or leaks (common)
- The balance on any previous bill was not paid in full
- Holiday lights or other additional exterior lighting
- Running / hung up toilet or a leak in your plumbing system
- Visitors / guests using extra water and electricity
- New appliances
- New habits, such as leaving the bathroom light on
- Climatic changes - increased need for electric heaters / air conditioning
- Watering season
We can also test your meters to see if they are running correctly, but if no problem is found, costs for testing are billed to the customer's account.
Why is my bill higher than my friend's/neighbor's?
This very common question is, unfortunately, very difficult to answer; any number of factors can lead to utility costs. A home may have fewer household members than the house next door, but this does not necessarily translate to a lower utility bill.
Why didn't my last payment show up on my current bill?
Most likely your last payment was not posted (received) before the subsequent bill was sent out. To prevent this from occurring we recommend you always pay your utility bill within 10 days of receiving it in the mail.
Why is my bill based on an estimated reading?
If your meter is not accessible to the meter reader, the city will estimate your current reading based on past history, however it should be noted that citizens are required by law to allow access to their meters for reading.
When are my meters read?
Meters are generally read around the same time every month for any given customer. Check your last utility bill for a reading date. This will give you an idea of when your meters tend to be read each month.
Security deposits, guarantees of payment.
(a) The City shall require a utility deposit or an acceptable credit rating for residential or commercial utility service. The deposit shall not exceed an amount equivalent to one sixth of that customer's estimated annual billing or not more than one and one half times the customer's estimated maximum monthly billing. However, if an average can not be obtained then $200 ($100 each service Electric & Water) shall be collected.
(b) The City reserves the right to refund and waive deposits requirements upon establishment of an acceptable credit rating. A customer or guarantor may only establish an acceptable credit if they:
- Can provide adequate credit references from a utility where the residential customer had prior utility service.
(c) If the customer or prospective customer cannot establish an acceptable credit rating but can demonstrate to the City that the customer does not have adequate financial resources to pay the full security deposit at one time because the customer has a low income and is elderly, disabled, or subject to other considerations, the City shall give special consideration to such a customer in determining in what amount and over what period of time a portion of the deposit total will be billed monthly until such time that full deposit is obtained. In no case will monthly deposit accruals exceed six months
(d) If a prospective customer cannot establish an acceptable credit rating but previously received utility service under the name of a spouse, the City may consider prior utility service to that spouse in determining whether and in what amount a security deposit will be charged.
(e) The City, at its sole discretion, may require a security deposit of customers with a previous acceptable credit rating and deposit waiver as a condition of continued service if:
- The customer is a chronic delinquent customer;
- As a condition for reconnection of service following a discontinuance of service by the City; or
- A Customer who in an unauthorized manner has interfered with or diverted the service of the City situated on or about or delivered to the customer's premises.
(f) Security deposits may be applied toward payment or partial payment of utility charges, including penalties, at any time after delinquency, being the time the penalty charge becomes applicable.
(Code 1962, § 3-3-12; Ord. No. 419, §1,9-12-94; Ord. No 513, §1, 3-11-02)
State law reference - Municipal authority to require reasonable deposits for utilities, NMSA 1978, § 3-23-1.
|Returned Check Fee||
|Red Tag Fee||
|Water Tap Fees
|Sewer Tap Fees
|Residential Meter Test
1. There is no charge to turn off water service temporarily (to fix leaks for instance). However, there will be a standard $19.09 connection fee charged to turn the service back on during normal business hours (8am-4pm, Monday through Friday). Reconnects which occur outside of these hours will be charged at twice the normal rate, $38.18. These charges will appear on the customer's next bill.
2. If a meter test is requested and the test shows the meter to be operating normally, the charges noted above will be billed to the customer. If the meter proves faulty, there will be no charge.
Explanation of Pass-Through Fees
An automatic rate increase on electric power bills is specifically directed by Section 14-45, paragraph 7-a of the ordinances to pass along to the customer any increase in the wholesale rate for electricity, which is charged to the City.
As a City, we are allotted a portion of power generated by hydro means. If we consume more than this allotment, we must buy more power from another source. Our other source for power is Sierra Electric Cooperative.
The cost for wholesale hydropower from WAPA is currently $.01043 per KWh. The cost of any extra power needed from Sierra Electric Cooperative is $0.06495 per KWh - a substantial increase from the normal rate. To offset these extra costs, a "Pass-Through Charge" is passed on to consumers.
The Pass-Through Rate is calculated using the following formula:
|Pass-Through Rate =||KWh (Sierra) x (Sierra KWh Rate - Hydro KWh Rate)|
|KWh Used (Sierra) + KWh Used (Hydro)|
For example, say that during any given month, the City used 2,338,000 KWh (our allotted portion) from Hydro power and an additional 1,257,900 KWh from Sierra Electric.
In this case, the Pass-Through Rate would be figured as follows:
|1,257,900 KWh x ($0.06495 - $0.01043)||= 1,257,900KWh x $0.05455||= .019072|
|1,257,900 KWh + 2,338,000 KWh||3,595,900 KWh|
So, in this example, the Pass-Through Rate equals $0.019072, which is rounded to $0.02.
This charge of $0.02 would then be multiplied by your KWh usage to arrive at an amount billed as a "Pass-Through Charge."
Returned Check Policy
Accounts for which payment by check is returned for non sufficient funds will be assessed a $25 returned check fee.