Between Austin, San Antonio, Houston & Bryan/College Station
Utility Service Issues
If the problem is not resolved by an informal hearing, the customer must notify the Utility Department, in writing, of a request for a Formal Hearing. This request must be received by the Utility Department no later than two business days following the date of the Informal Hearing.
The Utility Department will schedule the Formal Hearing within three business days from the date the customer's written request is received. The customer will be notified by mail of the time, date, and place of the Formal Hearing.
The customer may appear in person or be represented by legal counsel, or both, at the Formal Hearing. The decision reached by the Smithville Utility department following the Formal Hearing shall be final. If the decision is to continue with disconnection procedures, such disconnection will occur on the next business day which is not a Friday or City holiday.
Customers have the right to contest a disputed portion of their utility bill. Customers objecting to the decisions of the Smithvile Utility Department with regard to proposed utility termination may informally appeal to a customer service representative or his/her designee at City Hall, Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-5 pm, to attempt to achieve an administrative resolution. A document shall be prepared after any informal hearing which includes the date, requestor, reasons, persons present, and decision reached.
This document will be kept on file at the Utility Department, and a copy will be given to the customer. If the decision resulting fromt he Informal Hearing is to continue disconnection procedures, service will be disconnected on the 3rd business day (which is not a Friday or City holiday) following such hearing.
Checks returned from the customer's bank will be held at the Utility Department. A $35 fee will be assessed to the account, and late fees will be assessed if the return causes the account to go into past-due status. The customer must present cash, money order, or cashier's check in order to make payment on the account. Accounts with more than two returned checks in a 12-month period will be required to pay by cash, money order, or cashier's check for the next 12 months.
Accounts not paid in full by the last business day of the month are subject to a Service Disconnect Order (SDO), which may result in disconnection of electric service. Once an SDO has been issued, the account is in "disconnect" status, regardless of whether services are actually terminated. A hearing and appeal process is described on the Past Due notice, which is mailed no later than the 15th day of each month.
To have service reconnected after your 1st SDO, there is a $50 service charge that must be paid, in addition to the past due balance in order for the account to be removed from disconnect status. To have service reconnected after your 2nd SDO and afterwards, a $50 service charge must be paid in addition to the entire account balance in order for the account to be removed from disconnect status. Also, the Department may review the account payment history and require a deposit/additional deposit in order to continue service to the account.
Payment in the aforementioned cases must be received in the Utility Office before 3:30pm on the date of the SDO to remove an account from disconnect status on that date. When payments are received after 3:30pm or on a weekend or holiday, an additional $100 call-out charge will be assessed in order to remove the account from disconnect status. Failure to receive a bill does not exempt you from monthly payment, late charges, or termination of service.
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