SPECIAL REPORT: Putting Down Roots : The Times Poll : How to Plug Into Utility Services in Your Area

Although half of North County's residents think they'll be living at the same address five years from now, 22% anticipate that by then they'll have moved elsewhere in the same community or in North County. For those who've lived in North County two years or less, 64% expect they'll be moving. --The Times Poll

One of the very first steps people take in establishing themselves in a community is hooking up to the utility systems. Here's a look at what the water, gas and electric, and phone companies have in store for you:

WATER

Water hookups in North County are arranged either through a municipal water department at City Hall or through the water district.

Although the hierarchy may differ among the communities, the drought is a concern to each one.

Each water district makes its own decisions on how to implement the water policies established by the San Diego County Water Authority.

The County Water Authority purchases its water from the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies water to much of Southern California.

Figuring out which water district you fall under can take a telephone call to City Hall. Bills are sent by either City Hall or the individual water district.

Carlsbad: Water hookups may be established by a trip to the Finance Department at City Hall, 1200 Elm Ave. The number is 434-2883. No deposit is needed, but an agreement to accept financial responsibility must be signed. Tenants must bring the name and address of the landlord.

Low-flow shower heads are available at the Carlsbad Water District office at 5950 El Camino Real. The number is 438-2722. Also available are household conservation kits with water displacement bags--plastic sacks that can be filled with water and plopped into a toilet tank.

Del Mar: A trip is required to the Water Utilities Department in City Hall at 1050 Camino Del Mar, as is a $100 deposit, before service will be established. A social security number and a driver's license number will also be requested. Those with further questions may call 755-9354. Low-flow shower heads and displacement bags are available.

Encinitas: The community is home to a number of overlapping water districts. Those uncertain of which district they belong to may call the Public Works Department at 944-5080 or stop by City Hall at 527 Encinitas Blvd.

Most residents fall in the Olivenhain District. That office is at 1966 Olivenhain Road, Encinitas. The number is 753-6466. Service may be established over the phone. Free shower heads are available to district members.

Escondido: There are five water districts serving the city. Officials suggest calling City Hall at 741-4682 for help in deciding who to call next. The address is 201 N. Broadway.

Those residents in areas served by the Escondido Water Utilities Department may be asked for a deposit ranging from $85 to $150. No low-flow shower heads are yet available, but water conservation kits are in stock.

Fallbrook: The Fallbrook Public Utilities District is at 990 E. Mission Road. The number is 728-1125. No deposit is required, and arrangements for a water hookup may be made over the telephone. Shower heads and displacement bags are available to all those in the district.

Oceanside: A water hookup requires a $165 deposit and a trip to City Hall East at 300 N. Ditman St. The telephone number is 966-4646.

Poway: The Poway Public Works Department at 748-6600 can arrange for water hookups. The department is at Poway City Hall, 13325 Civic Center Drive. Applications must be signed. The department has free shower heads and water conservation literature.

San Marcos: Most residents are served by the Vallecito Water District, 744-0460. That district also serves parts of Vista. The office is at 788 San Marcos Blvd. No deposit is required, but a form must be filled out. The district will provide a rebate to residents who replace their commodes with water-conserving toilets. Free low-flow shower heads also are available.

Solana Beach: Residents are in the Santa Fe Irrigation District. The address is 1853 Aliso Canyon Road, Rancho Santa Fe, and the telephone number 756-2424.

Vista: Residents must call the Vista Irrigation District at 724-8814. The district asks renters to have the landlord sign an authorization form for the water hookup. The address in Vista is 202 W. Connecticut Ave.

TRASH

All roads may lead to Rome, as the saying goes, but in North County, all garbage goes to the San Marcos Landfill, the area's sole dump.

The San Marcos Landfill, on West Haven Road, is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. There is a $3 charge for a carload of trash and a $6 charge for each pickup truck load. Yard trimmings are assessed at a slightly higher rate. Dump hours are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week, and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

If delivering your own trash doesn't appeal to you--and it doesn't for most--trash collection may be arranged either through the municipality or through a carting company approved by the municipality. In some communities, commercial trash collection is mandated by ordinance.

Carlsbad: To arrange service, call 438-7753, or stop by Carlsbad City Hall at 1200 Elm Ave. The cost is $9.60 a month and includes recycling. Carlsbad has a contract with Coast Waste Management Inc., which picks up once a week. Bills are sent by the city of Carlsbad.

Del Mar: The city also uses Coast Waste and sends out its own bills. The charge is $9.90 a month and includes recycling. The number is 755-9354. The address is 1050 Camino Del Mar.

Encinitas: Two companies, Coast Waste at 753-9412 and Mashburn Sanitation at 744-2700, collect trash in Encinitas. Recycling is handled by Solana Recyclers, which keeps a drop-off site available 24 hours a day on Via Morena, behind the sheriff's station.

Escondido: The city has a contract with Escondido Disposal, a company that charges $17.95 bimonthly. That cost includes recycling. Call the city at 741-4882 to set up service. Escondido City Hall is at 201 N. Broadway.

Fallbrook: Fallbrook Refuse is at 418 W. Aviation Road, and its number is 728-6114. Fallbrook Refuse does its own billing and keeps a recycling center open from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Oceanside: The city is served by Waste Management Inc., a Chicago-based company said to be the largest of its kind in the world. The charge is $16.98 bimonthly and includes recycling. Utility information and billing is handled at City Hall East, 300 N. Ditman Street.

Poway: Seven garbage disposal companies vie for customers in Poway. City Hall provides a list of companies approved for business in Poway and an idea of how rates differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. Each company bills its own customers quarterly. Recycling must be arranged on an individual basis. Information is available by calling 695-1400.

San Marcos: They city neither arranges nor bills for garbage collection. Those wishing to establish collection must call Mashburn Sanitation Co., which holds an exclusive contract with San Marcos. That number is 744-2700. Charges range from $9.96 to $23.36 a month and includes recycling.

Solana Beach: Served by both Coast Waste at 755-9412 and Mashburn Sanitation Co. at 744-2700. Recycling is included in the charges that are levied by the individual companies. Costs range from $9 to $30 a month.

Vista: Vista residents may arrange for garbage collection by calling Vista Mashburn Sanitation Co. at 727-1600. Rates range from $9 to $22 a month and include recycling. Vista Mashburn bills its customers quarterly.

PHONES

Back when Saratoga 2 meant Oceanside, Plaza 6 was Rancho Sante Fe and Plateau 3 meant dialing Encinitas, initiating telephone service meant a trip to the telephone company. Today, telephone service is best ordered by phone, and telephones themselves are purchased at an appliance or electronics store.

There are several long-distance carriers to choose from, but Pacific Bell is the only company that provides local service in North County and most of the state.

There are about 1.3 million phone lines countywide. Camp Pendleton has about 1,500 lines; Carlsbad has some 40,000; Del Mar, 30,000; Encinitas, 40,000; Escondido 70,000; Fallbrook 20,000; Oceanside, 45,000; Poway 18,000; Rancho Bernardo, 36,000; and Vista, 52,000. North County telephone service has been growing at about 5% a year.

The basic Pacific Bell telephone connection costs $34.75. Monthly rates range from $4.45 for the measured rate, which allows only a limited number of local calls, to $8.35 for flat rate service, which allows unlimited local calling. No deposit is needed to establish an account, although late payments or other financial delinquencies may prompt Pacific Bell to ask for one.

Universal Lifeline Service is available for $2.23 a month to those who qualify.

To establish or change telephone service, call Pacific Bell at 811-5888 or 695-5888. (Some business telephone systems do not allow access to the numbers with the 811 prefix.) The telephone company can also be called collect at 714-339-5888. The Tele-Consumer Hotline based in Washington provides free price comparisons on long-distance carriers and other information on phone services. That number is: 800-332-1124.

SDG&E;

Those wishing to arrange for gas or electric service should call San Diego Gas & Electric. The North County number is 436-2401. Branch offices are in Oceanside at 1816 Oceanside Blvd. and in Escondido at 455 S. Escondido Blvd.

The utility company requests two or three days notice for a service hookup, and also asks for your name, place of employment, Social Security number, personal reference and, for new customers, a deposit that can range from $35 to $70.

The installation fee is $15 for gas and $25 for electricity. If meters are already there, a $5 fee is assessed for changing the name on the account.

Electricity consumption is calculated by kilowatt-hour. One kilowatt-hour is the amount of electricity needed to keep one 100-watt light bulb burning for 10 hours.

Gas is measured by the therm. The gas meter records how much gas is used in cubic feet, then the cubic feet are converted into therms, the actual heat value of the gas. Billing is in therms because it is thought to be a fairer measure of the energy being bought.

Those who prefer to skip paying a deposit may instead take a five-hour workshop, "The Budget and Home Energy Management Course." The course is offered regularly, usually on a Saturday.

Electricity sold by SDG&E; is generated at the Encina Power Plant in Carlsbad, as well as another plant in Chula Vista. The utility also gets electricity from the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, of which it owns 20%. Almost half of SDG&E;'s power is purchased elsewhere. Natural gas is piped in from Oklahoma and Texas.

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