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Oceanside City Council OKs changes to water meter service fees

OCEANSIDE — City Council OK’d updates to water meter service fees on Dec. 19 that will reduce costs for some customers. 

“The adjustment to utility service fees reflects the city’s cost of services,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director. “It also includes fees recommended for a reduction in costs.”

In the case of charges for water meter reinstatement, after-hour service calls, set up and broken locks — customer costs were reduced.

Dale sited technology, efficiencies, and streamlined workflow as reasons why it costs less to provide these services.

The savings will be passed on to customers.

This comes as a welcome relief in difficult economic times. In many cases customers who are already having trouble paying their bills incur these service charges.

Water meter installation costs also dropped for some customers due to the city’s use of a new brand of water meter that is fully loaded with components that were previously bought separately. This change allows savings on 40 percent of meter sizes.

Not all fees were lowered. Changes also bumped up costs for some users.

The costs of an industrial waste permit increased from $100 to $147.

Two new charges were added. A food oil grease permit now costs $147 and a recreational vehicle dumpsite costs $100.

A noticeable markup was added to customer requested in-field meter exams. Customers previously paid $3 to have their meter checked for accuracy. Now the charge is $115.

Dale said the charge is necessary when a customer makes repeated requests to have their meter re-checked and tested to confirm it is accurate.

“For services performed we do want to recoup costs,” Dale said. “We could have quite a few requests and that could bog down staff labor.”

The Utilities Commission will update the approved fees Jan. 8.