Submitted to OnFocus – April brings the end of the moratorium on disconnection of electric service for non-payment. Only a small portion of Marshfield Utilities (MU) Customers fall into this category. In February there was $225 thousand in past due balances over 31 days old.
To date, only a handful of these Customers have contacted MU to set-up a payment plan to get caught up on their bill. The result could be a higher number of disconnections this spring. That is a lose-lose proposition for the Customer and the Utility alike. MU wants to help.
COVID-19 has only added challenges and burdens to our Customers. “Our goal is to help them understand that the possibility of disconnection is real and what options are available to help”, says Ross Larson, Customer Accounts Supervisor. Federal, State and local programs have been added while others have had thresholds and qualifications modified to offer greater help to a larger number of applicants. The goal is to help people stay in their homes and get assistance so disconnection can be avoided. We encourage our at-risk Customers to contact Energy Services, Community Action Agency or the Rental Assistance Program for details.
To make sure the past due Customer is aware of the upcoming disconnections, MU has printed the information on the March bill. Customers also have been receiving door hangers, post cards and phone calls. All of these communications include options and the reminder that action is required.
In an effort to be proactive, MU is releasing this information to the media to help get the word out. Other steps have been taken, including working with the Wood County Human Services staff that handles the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program to provide them information on their previous recipients that we see are in-need. MU is offering the most generous Deferred Payment Arrangement plans allowed by Statute and Tariff. Our Customer Accounts Specialists can be reached at (715) 387-1195 for details and questions. Lastly, MU has complied with Wisconsin State Statue and informed affected landlords of the possibility of disconnection at their rental properties.
“There is no winner in a disconnection and all these communications are our attempt to avoid the interruption of service and to make certain our Customers are aware of their options”, shares Larson.
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