9/4/2020 1:07:00 PM Utility Cutoffs Prompt Some To Pay
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
The losses suffered by the City of Lincolnton because of the moratorium on utility cutoffs that ended July 31st may not be as bad as had been thought. At one point, the City was looking at over a half million dollars in potential lost revenues.
The City put together a payment plan for those who hadn't paid their utility bills during the moratorium period giving those customers up to six months to pay the past due amounts.
City Manager Steve Zickefoose reported to the City Council Thursday night (Sept. 3rd) that there were 680 utility accounts on August 31st that were eligible to be cut off due to nonpayment. 550 of these had not made a payment since April due to the Governor’s Executive Order. As of September 3rd, 105 customers had signed up for the 6-month payment plan that was required as part of the Executive Order. 325 customers had paid their account in full, leaving 250 accounts that were turned off.
The 680 utility accounts that were eligible to be cut off represented $550,000 of nonpayments. At the close of day on September 3rd, that was down to $219,000. The breakdown is $106,000 Water/Sewer and $113,000 Electric.
Customers that have outstanding balances and move to another location in the city are still responsible for the unpaid amount before utility services will be made available at their new residence.
The Governor's order eliminated late fees for the moratorium period.
Had many of the accounts not already been paid and the payment plan put in place for others, the City faced the possibility of having to raise utility rates for its paying customers to take care of the losses. That won't be necessary now, according to Zickefoose.
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