Special October Fires Water Bill Adjustment

Posted on November 27, 2017

On Monday, November 20, City Council adopted a special October fires water bill adjustment. The October fires impacted the Sonoma area in many ways. Some City of Sonoma water customers responded to the fire threat by applying water to their property to reduce their fire risk. Others evacuated and returned home to find that a hose or sprinkler had been left on, or that their water facilities had been damaged by CalFire response activities. The City performed normal water meter readings for the month of October and distributed water bills to customers in early November. Several water customers contacted the City requesting that their water bills be adjusted since their high water use was in response to the extreme threat of fire.

This Council action allows the October 2017 water bills to be adjusted to apply the Tier 1 rate to water usage above normal usage due to the October fires. Normal usage is determined by averaging consumption on a monthly basis using the previous twelve months of water consumption. Normal water usage amounts will be billed at standard water billing rates and the usual service rates apply. If any water customer’s water usage was higher than normal due to damage to their water facilities by CalFire firefighting operations, upon request their water bill will be adjusted to remove charges for the water usage above normal usage in the month of October 2017. If any water customer’s home was lost due to the fires, upon request the City will waive all water charges for the month of October 2017.

Customers who had high water use during the month of October 2017 due to the October fires may request a water bill adjustment.  Water use due to the fires can be described using the October Fires Water Bill Adjustment Request Form , which must be completed, signed and returned to the City. Requests must be received by January 1, 2018. All requests are subject to review and approval by the City. The October Fires adjusted bills are sufficient to cover the City’s direct water supply costs.  A description of the October Fires Water Bill Adjustment and an example are available here.

The City of Sonoma was fortunate to escape direct damage from the October fires. We are extremely grateful to all the emergency responders who worked together to save our town. Adopting this special October fires water bill adjustment is part of the City’s commitment to supporting the recovery efforts.

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