The cost of turning your electricity on in College Station may go up because other people aren't paying their bills.
Just this year, the city has written off more than $500,000 for unpaid utility bills.
Cathy Stark with College Station Utilities is putting together what she calls a much-needed plan.
"When you start looking at these numbers, then it is obvious we have to make a change now,” said Stark.
Those numbers are the amounts her department has to write off every year because of unpaid utility bills. Last year the city had to write-off more than $623,000, and just this year more than $554,000 has been written off.
To help offset that amount, the utility department is proposing an increase in utility deposits for new residential customers.
If the proposal is approved, customers would be required to make a deposit that is one and a half times the estimated average utility bill for that property. That number will be calculated by the utility consumption history of the residence.
"When the customer leaves, we are more likely to have a big portion of the bill covered. It's probably not going to pay the entire bill that they are going to leave us with, but it will reduce the amount we are left with at the end of the day,” Stark said.
College Station Utilities says that 700 of their 38,000 customers didn't pay their utility bills last year.
If the ordinance is approved, the average deposit would go from $135 to $350.
"The deposit is always refundable. It is either refundable for good credit history, or it is refunded because you are no longer our customer and we have generated a final bill for you,” Stark said.
The council is expected to vote on the proposal this Thursday.
Homeowners with a good credit history are exempt from any deposit.
If the proposal is approved, the utilities department can implement it by the beginning of June.