STATEWIDE--If you are behind on your power bill, you have some time to get square with your utility company.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) said they would not extend the state’s moratorium on utility disconnections, but did issue an order that offers some relief for people who are struggling to pay bills.
The order requires all utility companies to offer extended payment plans at least six months long to customers until October 12. They have also told those companies to suspend late fees, deposits, and disconnection/reconnection fees for residential customers until that date.
Regulators believe many customers will not enlist in extended payment plans until they are faced with disconnection.
“However, given the significant number of customers that have not yet entered into payment arrangements despite the increased communication about payment plans from their utilities, we are concerned that residential customers, in particular, may not enter into a payment plan until they face actual disconnection. And, following disconnection, the requirement to pay reconnection fees or deposits to restore service will only increase the customer’s outstanding arrearage, which could already be substantial. For these reasons, we decline to extend beyond August 14 the prohibition on utility service disconnections,” says the order.
The IURC is requiring utilities to offer payment plans at least six months long, but Indianapolis Power and Light and Citizens Energy say they will offer plans twice that length.
Duke Energy has said it will not be disconnecting customers until September 15.