San Diego Residents Complain About Penalties on Late Bills

Consumer advocates are accusing San Diego public utility officials of tacking unnecessary fees and penalties onto late bills and shutting off customers' water with no warning.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Utility Consumers' Action Network says the city has been piling on fees and penalties, including years-old parking tickets and library fines, before agreeing to restore water service.

City officials say they try to accommodate customers who experience short-term financial problems, but that water service can't continue indefinitely without bills getting paid.

City spokeswoman Katie Keach says the City Council has recently approved a new program to help provide support to people who cannot keep up with utility costs.

Utility Consumers' Action Network officials say that isn't enough and that the city should stop shutting off water without notice.

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