City of Weiser residents voice concern over utility disconnections

Mayor Randy Hibberd
Well! It looks like the cafes and restaurants here in Weiser will be getting quite a bit of business from Cathy and myself over the next couple of months. Starting next week, my brother and nephew are going to be remodeling our kitchen and what was once a back porch on our house. Our house is a 1910 Craftsman Sears and Roebuck kit house. It is solid but could use a few updates. 
 So, over the next couple of months, we will probably be very familiar with every menu in town. I know that the food is great at all our local establishments. I just hope that doesn’t translate into too many added pounds!  
 In City news this week, you may remember that the City received a grant to replace playground equipment in Memorial Park. Well, the City has now jumped through the hoops to accept the grant. We will be going out to bid on this project shortly. 
 It is too soon to say when the new playground will be completed. That will depend on the winning contractor’s work schedule. But we anticipate having the project completed by fall. 
 In other news, the library is celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday on Friday, March 1. Timbra Long and the whole library crew invite you to stop by and celebrate the good Dr.’s birthday with cookies and snacks. However, it is strictly BYOGEH (Bring Your Own Green Eggs and Ham.)
 Now on to another topic. I have been getting telephone calls recently regarding the City’s procedures regarding utility disconnections. Most have centered around a lack of warning just before the disconnection takes place. 
 To explain why the City does not provide pre-notification a little background might help. The City of Weiser is in a rather unique situation. Rather than getting our electricity from Idaho Power, the City buys power from the Bonneville Power Authority at wholesale prices and then distributes that power to you and to the businesses in town. The City owns the power poles, lines, and has our own professional crew to insure you receive the service you need. 
 By doing this, your power rates are 15 percent to 20 percent less than the typical Idaho Power customer. 
 Idaho Power is required by the Public Utility Commission to notify its customers before power is disconnected. Weiser does not have this requirement. If the City Council chose to alter this procedure the City could comply. But it would require more staff to do so. And so, there is a trade-off between lower power bills and notification before disconnecting services. 
 To help alleviate most problems with this, the City announced a new set of features to pay your utility bills about a year ago. You can go to the City’s website at or call the City Office at 208-414-1965 to sign up to have text messages sent to your phone to remind you of the due date. The messages go out at the time the invoice is generated, one week later, and then if the invoice is still not paid, just before the turn off date. 
 In addition, there are several ways to pay for your City utilities. First, there are the traditional ways of bringing, mailing, or dropping off a check at the drop box across from City Hall. You may also call the City with your credit card to make a payment. This method will cost an additional 3.25 percent of the bill.
 However, the City now offers online options to make your payments. 
 You can contact the City to level-pay your utilities and then set up a bill pay system with your bank to have the payment automatically deducted from your checking account at no charge. This is what I do.
 If your bank allows it, you can go to the City’s website and sign up to have your checking account debited or your credit card charged for the invoice amount each month. The debit fee is 2.25 percent or the credit card fee is 3.25 percent. 
 So, as you can see, you can receive notification ahead of time and there are very convenient ways to pay! If you have any questions, the staff at City Hall would be more than happy to answer your questions. I hope this helps!
 Well, that’s it for this week. If you see Cathy and me at a restaurant, be sure to say hi! Weiser really is a great place to live, work, and play!


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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