Fresno hasn’t charged residents late fees on their utility bills since the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's at stake:

The City of Fresno will begin issuing late fees to residents behind on utilitiy bills. City officials anticipate it will bring in close to $1 million in revenue next year.

For the first time in three years, Fresno residents can expect late fees if they are behind on utility bills or face shutoffs if they don’t pay up.

Delinquent notices are sent to residents along with their monthly water, garbage, and sewer bill before being issued late fees. If city residents don’t pay their water bill for more than two months, the city will shut off their water lines.

Fresno’s Department of Public Utilities began sending residents delinquent notices for past-due utility bills on May 22, and anticipates issuing late fees by mid-July or early August, said city spokesperson Sontaya Rose. She said residents behind on their utility bills can avoid paying late fees by setting up a payment plan with the city.

Rose said late fees would be calculated at 2% of the cost of overdue bills.

“That’s why we’re doing all we can now to get the word out for residents who may be behind,” Rose told Fresnoland.

The city projects bringing in almost $1 million in annual revenue starting next month by reinstituting late fees on utility bills, according to the 2024 proposed budget Mayor Jerry Dyer released last month. 

In March 2020, the City of Fresno paused charging late fees and shutting off water lines during the city’s COVID-19 emergency order — which the Fresno City Council terminated on June 10, 2022.

The City of Fresno has a program for residents who want to stagger utility bills they still need to pay through a payment plan. The city also has utility bill discounts for low-income and older residents.

For more information about utility bills, visit the City of Fresno’s utility billing webpage, or call 559-621-6888 for help.

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Omar Shaikh Rashad is the government accountability reporter for Fresnoland.

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