CITY HALL — Payment extensions granted to Glendale Water & Power customers increased last year as residents continued to struggle to pay their utility bills, officials said this week.
The utility granted 24,547 extensions last fiscal year — a 5% increase compared with the fiscal year ending in 2009, and a 21% increase to the previous year, according to a report Monday to the Glendale Water & Power Commission.
That's about one extension for every three of the utility's 80,000 customers, although individual customers can receive as many as six extensions per year for each bimonthly bill.
Bills for water and electric service average about $275 for two months, according to a city report.
"We are really working with customers for them to get some help on their utility bills," said Tami Vallier, the utility's customer services administrator.
The increase in payment extensions is a driving factor behind an approximately 20% drop in service disconnections last year compared with the previous year, Vallier said. About 4,000 customers had their service shut off last year, compared with nearly 5,000 the year before.