Some Crothersville Utilities customers have gotten behind on their monthly bill payments because of financial struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Crothersville Town Council recently announced residents may request to set up a payment plan by contacting the town hall.
A contract will be signed stating that any arrears incurred between March 14 and Aug. 14 or the lifting of the utilities moratorium can be made in six equal monthly installments. Meanwhile, all regular bills must be kept current.
The regular monthly bill and monthly arrears installment will be due on the 15th of each month.
If both are not kept current, the customer may face loss of service, pending payment in full and required deposit.
The council unanimously approved the six-month payment plan. Initially, residents had to pay their outstanding bill within three months, but the council amended that to six.
Council President Danieta Foster said a customer has to show cause for their ability to pay the full amount due to financial hardship, and they can’t have reached a similar agreement with the town within the last 12 months.
They will sign a contract agreeing to pay one-third of the bill or a greater amount agreed upon with Clerk-Treasurer Staci Peters, pay the remainder of the outstanding bill within six months and pay all undisputed future bills for service as they become due.
“Every month, they would make their regular bill payment and an arrears payment, and if they get behind on that, they would get shut off and void contract,” Foster said.
On June 29, the Indiana Regulatory Commission announced the rules and tariffs of jurisdictional utilities should be temporarily amended to prohibit utility service disconnections for 45 days beyond the expiration of an executive order through Aug. 14. That also prohibited the collection of certain utility fees, including late fees, convenience fees, deposits and reconnection fees.
The next day, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued another executive order extending the prohibition of disconnection of utility services, saying all utility companies, regardless of how they are regulated by the commission, must extend service until Aug. 14.
The commission then said it expects customers and utilities to communicate as soon as possible to set up payment arrangements as necessary so utility service can be maintained.
Foster said Crothersville could be an exception because it’s not under the commission, but town officials agreed with Holcomb strongly suggesting all utilities offer at least a six-month moratorium.