Utility Billing & Service Policies


 Establishing a new utility service

New services installed only during normal business hours. A 48-hour notice (excluding weekends and holidays) is required.

 Terminating a utility service

When a utility service is shut off at the customer’s request, the natural gas meter will be turned off and locked. At the time a customer requests the service to be turned on, City of Perham/Perham Natural Gas (PNG) personnel will remove the lock, but it is the responsibility of the customer to have all pilot lights relit. The homeowner must be present when services are turned on.  A reconnect fee will need to be paid before services are reinstated, see current fee schedule.
A customer may request to have water service temporarily discontinued. Public Works will temporarily turn water off at the curb stop at no charge to the customer. A reconnect fee will need to be paid before services are reinstated, see current fee schedule.  The homeowner must be present when reconnecting services.
Seasonal customers may request to have some services temporarily discontinued. Base charges will be removed. A reconnect fee will apply before services are reinstated.
Termination for renters
When a renter/landlord informs City of Perham/PNG that they no longer require city services, a final reading will be taken on the day specified and the final bill will be calculated based on those readings. A 48 hour (excluding weekends & holidays) notice is required. A Notice of Transfer Form will be mailed to the renter/landlord to notify the other party of the change of services. The utility service will then be placed back into the owners name for future billings. If services have been disconnected from previous renter, a reconnect fee will need to be paid by the landlord before services are reinstated, see current fee schedule.  The City of Perham/PNG takes no responsibility for any leases or rental agreements that may be in effect between landlord and tenant.
Termination for owners
Upon request, meters will be read out on the closing date, a 48 hour (excluding weekends and holidays) notice is required. It is recommended that buyers and sellers do not rely on the realtors to supply this information. To ensure a reading on the closing date and to receive accurate owner information, it is recommended that the buyer call the City Office to request services be placed in their name. The seller may also wish to contact the City Office to request change of ownership and to supply forwarding address information. 

 Deposit Requirement

A deposit is required from all rental customers. This deposit is required prior to placing the utility account in the renter’s name. Until this deposit is received, all utility services will remain in the property owner’s name, refer to fee schedule for current deposit amounts.

If a residence receives both natural gas service and water service, the highest applicable deposit will be required.

Deposits are held in escrow earning interest at the rate allowed by the State. You may contact City of Perham/PNG to find out the current interest rate. Final billings are taken out of the deposit and any remaining balance is refunded to the customer at the forwarding address provided.

 Definitions of Your Bill

The billing statement shows:

  • account number
  • dates the meters were read or if estimated
  • present and previous meter readings
  • amount used
  • number of days between readings
  • amount charged on each meter
  • sales tax and any other surcharges billed
  • total amount due to the City of Perham
  • previous billing amount
  • any payments and adjustments made in the month
  • budget amount (if the budget plan is used)
  • date payment is due

 Payments of Your Bill

Payments are due by the date shown on the statement. Payments may be made by cash, check, money order, credit/debit card, automatic payment through a checking or savings account, or online payment link.  No second party or postdated checks will be accepted. Checks will not be held.

A returned check is treated as a non-payment. If notification of a returned check is received by the City of Perham/PNG, the customer will be charged a processing fee, refer to current fee schedule. Customers must replace payment with cash or money order immediately in order to avoid the disconnection process.

 Explanation of Billing Procedure

Meter Reading
Meters are read approximately every 30 days. Reading begins on approximately the 25th of the month. Estimated readings may be used if the meters are inaccessible or if the meter has stopped working.

A bill for services will be mailed to the address provided by the customer on approximately the 6th of each month. Payment is due on or before the 22nd of each month. Bills not paid prior to the due date will have a penalty applied of 10% of total charges.

Any customer who is over 30 days delinquent on their utility bill will receive a delinquent notice requesting payment within ten days. If no response is received to that notice within the time frame, a disconnect notice will be issued. It is always the customer’s responsibility to pay bills in a timely manner and to keep the City of Perham/PNG fully advised of any change of address.

Disconnect notices will be issued to customers that are past due after the delinquent notice requirements failed to be fulfilled. Customers that hold a deposit with the City of Perham/PNG will be in the disconnection process immediately if amount owed exceeds the deposit held. Under the Cold Weather Rule customers have twenty one (21) days to respond to the disconnect notice from October 1st to April 30th. The customer will have fourteen (14) days to respond if the Cold Weather Rule is not in effect.

Customers that are final billed and have an outstanding past due balance of 60 days or more will be submitted to collections. Any customer that has services disconnected and a past due balance of 60 days or more will be submitted to collections. Once submitted to collections penalties will no longer accrue.

 Automatic Payment Plan

Payments may be made automatically through a checking or savings account. These payments are withdrawn on the 22nd day of each month, if the 22nd falls on a weekend or holiday the last business day prior to the 22nd.The customer must complete an Authorization for Automatic Payment Form. The customer will receive their monthly utility statement showing the payment amount that will be withdrawn. The customer may contact the City of Perham/PNG before the amount is withdrawn if they do not agree with the billing or have any questions.

If a customer has non sufficient funds for two consecutive months, that customer will be removed from the automatic payment plan.   Non-Sufficient Funds fee will apply if payment is returned refer to current fee schedule.

 Budget Payment Plan

A budget payment plan is available for residential natural gas customers with good payment history for the six months prior to the beginning of the budget year. Natural gas is the only service that this program applies to. The budget amount is calculated based on the previous twelve (12) months of natural gas used. The budget amount is reviewed after the heating season and adjusted accordingly. The budget year begins with the October billing and ends with the September billing which is considered the “catch up” month.

 Errors in Billing

Over charges for reading errors will be credited on the next months billing statement or refunded on the final billing. If a customer feels there may be a reading or billing error on their account they may contact the utility billing department for the City of Perham/PNG at 218-346-4455 or toll free at 1-877-864-7963. PNG will correct billing errors up to a two year time frame.

 Disconnection of Utility Service

Any time utility service has been disconnected a reconnect fee will be charged to unlock the natural gas meter once the account has been brought current. See fee schedule for current reconnect fee. It is then the responsibility of the customer to contact a plumbing/heating contractor qualified to work with natural gas to light any pilot lights as needed.

If water service has been disconnected due to nonpayment, a reconnection fee applies, see fee schedule for current reconnection fee.

If a homeowner has utility service disconnected due to non-payment, any applicable deposit, as listed in deposit requirement section, will be required prior to reinstatement of service.

Once payment of the balance due on the account, the deposit if necessary and the reconnection fee is received, the City of Perham/PNG has a maximum of 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to reinstate the affected utility services.

Utility service will be disconnected without notice in the event of unauthorized use of, or tampering with, the equipment of the City of Perham/PNG. The customer will also be charged for the cost of repairs or replacement of the equipment.

THE CITY OF PERHAM/PNG SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR CLAIMS INCURRED AS A RESULT OF DISCONNECTION OF SERVICE, EITHER AT THE CUSTOMER REQUEST OR FOR NON-PAYMENT. The Minnesota Cold Weather Rule is designed to protect customers who may have trouble paying utility bills in the winter. The Minnesota Cold Weather rule applies from October 1 to April 30. The rule, established by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, means that the City of Perham/PNG cannot disconnect residential natural gas service during this time period if the customer meets all four of the following requirements.

  • Utility disconnection would affect the customer’s primary heat source;
  • The customer has declared inability to pay, forms provided by the City of Perham/PNG and provided sufficient proof of income;
  • The household income of the customer is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level, as documented by the customer to the utility; and
  • The customer’s account was current for the billing period immediately prior to October 1 or the customer has entered into a payment schedule and is reasonably current with the payments under the schedule.
If the customer is having trouble paying the utility bill, local agencies may be able to provide payment assistance. The customer may contact City of Perham/PNG for assistance numbers.
If the customer knows they will have trouble paying utility bills, please contact the City of Perham/PNG at (218)346-4455 or toll free at 1-877-864-7963 to work out a payment schedule.

Meter Testing
The City of Perham/PNG will periodically test natural gas meters for accuracy. Meters that have an average accuracy of 100 percent, plus or minus two (2) percent, will be considered accurate. Average accuracy is the average of the open and check flow accuracies.

 Service Requirements-Natural Gas

Natural Gas Meter Placement
Access to all meters shall not be obstructed (example: shrubs, bushes, fences, locked gates, dogs, snow/ice, etc.), so that the City of Perham/PNG personnel may be able to read, change, work on or inspect the meters as required.

Reasonable care should be used by the customer and/or contractor to protect all meters when remodeling, roofing, and painting, etc. If a meter is damaged and reasonable care was not used, the customer and/or contractor may be charged for the cost of repairing or replacing the meter.

No natural gas meter or regulator shall be located under a window or fresh air intake. All gas meters shall be located outside. If owner requests that a gas meter and/or service line be relocated, it will be at the owner’s expense.

No service line valve or any portion of the natural gas meter may be buried. All meters and valves raised will be at the customer’s expense.

The single metering of multiple family dwellings, apartment buildings or multi business establishments within a single building is permitted to the extent that each building is centrally heated. Individual metering is required for all individually heated, single family private residence and each separately owned and/or operated business.

Meters are installed and repaired at the cost of a payback schedule determined by the City of Perham.

Natural Gas Service Work
PNG personnel will perform leak investigations and carbon monoxide testing at no charge to the customer. PNG does not service or repair any of the customer’s natural gas appliances.

 Service Requirements-Water

All new construction, residential or commercial, within the city limits of the City of Perham is required to connect to the nearest water main, provided the cost of this connection is not so high as to prohibit this connection. A connection fee applies, refer to current fee schedule. The customer is also responsible for the cost of the water meter. This water meter will then be repaired or replaced at no cost to the customer, provided such service is not directly required through negligence of the homeowner.

Meters are installed and repaired at the cost of a payback schedule determined by the City of Perham.

Actual installation of the customer’s water service line is done by local contractors. The customer or builder chooses the contractor and is responsible for any charges incurred.

 Service Requirements-Sanitary Sewer

All new construction, residential or commercial, within the city limits of the City of Perham is required to connect to the city’s sanitary sewer system. A connection fee applies, refer to the current fee schedule.

Actual installation of the customer’s sanitary sewer service line is done by local contractors. The customer or builder chooses the contractor and is responsible for any charges incurred.

Sanitary Sewer services are based off the customer’s metered water usage. Residential customers only pay a sewer average for May – October. This average is calculated on the previous six months of water usage November – April.

Locating Customer’s Underground Utilities
All public utilities are located when necessary at no charge to the customer provided the customer has complied with all Gopher State One Call requirements. Customers may contact Gopher State One Call toll free at 1-800-252-1166. Customers must call 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the time they want the service located.

 Policies and Requirements Brochure

The policies and requirements are provided for the convenience of the customer. Every attempt has been made to provide the customer with accurate information regarding the policies and requirements of the City of Perham/PNG. The City of Perham reserves the right to change its policies at any time and to adopt new and amended policies when, in its sole discretion, the City of Perham deems it necessary to do so. The City of Perham also reserves the right to make exceptions to the policies and requirements when, at the sole discretion the City of Perham, it deems necessary to do so. Customers with individual problems or concerns regarding services provided by the City of Perham are encouraged to make those concerns known to the City of Perham staff.

 Recycling Service

The City of Perham offers curbside recycling pickup for residential customers. Recycling schedule is located on the City's home page calendar.  Information regarding what items are picked up is available under Residential Services Recycling. If a customer does not have a recycling tote, they may contact City of Perham at 218-346-4455 to request one.

Also included in this service is a weekly pickup, between April 1 and October 31, of yard waste.

A monthly pickup of branches and brush is done on the last Wednesday of each month. Branches must be in lengths of less than four (4) feet, please do not bundle.

Annual pick up of Christmas trees is done in January for City of Perham residential customers.

Annual Clean Up Day
An annual clean up day is held each year. Information is sent to each residential customer along with the monthly utility statement prior to the scheduled clean up day. There is a charge for all items picked up and will be shown on the customer’s next billing statement.

Official Website of the City of Perham, MinnesotaPO Box 130 125 Second Ave NE Perham, MN 56573218-346-4455 (phone) 218-346-9364 (fax)24 Hour Public Works Utility Emergencies: 1-888-262-3837The City of Perham is an equal opportunity provider and employer.