Commission tells utilities to offer extended payment arrangements through Oct. 12

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INDIANAPOLIS – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect Hoosiers, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ordered all utilities to offer extended payment arrangements for a minimum of six months for an additional 60 days, through Oct. 12, 2020.

The commission also suspended the collection of certain jurisdictional fees (late fees, deposits, and disconnection/reconnection fees) through the same date for residential customers.

From the commission’s order:

…while utilities are not prohibited from offering (and are instead encouraged to offer) payment plans that provide for payment periods of greater than six months, all payment plan offers must not unjustly discriminate between customers and address all arrearages, whether from the winter moratorium or public health emergency, in a single payment plan.

Utilities may continue to charge convenience fees, the commission said. Customers should contact their utility company as soon as possible to make payment arrangements.

The commission said it was concerned that many customers may wait until the last minute—not doing so until they face disconnection or loss of service. The commission is not extending the disconnection moratorium beyond Aug. 14:

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 be already be substantial. For these reasons, we decline to extend beyond August 14 the prohibition on utility service disconnections.

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