Past Due Utility Bills A Growing Issue

Nearly 1,400 people owe the EWSU nearly a half million in past due utility bills. That number is down from the 2,700 that owed in July 2020.

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 11:50 PM
Updated: Oct 6, 2020 8:40 AM

"It makes me feel angry, I have to come up with $900.00 and I didn't even know about the bill" says Evansville Water Sewer Utilitycustomer Dawn Mangus.

At the end of July 191 people made payment arrangements for their water and sewer utility bill in Evansville.

"I need to come up with $900.00 and I'm just getting back to work because of the corona thing, If you own to much, or if you have so much you don't qualify for anything, there is no debt relief for us as little people" adds Mangus.

In Kentucky, utility customers who've fallen behind on payments because of the global pandemic and economic recession could have their power, gas and water service disconnected beginning Oct. 20.

"The problem is, is that folks are still using power, and the meters are still being read, if people are not paying then the bill piles up" says CEO Chris Heimgartner with Henderson Municipal Power and Light.

Kentucky utility consumers are behind $75 million, with the colder season upon us experts say that number will balloon to at $150 million by the end of the year.

"We went out and found an organization to work with to help us finance low income customers utility bills, Christian Community Outreach responded, this year we gave them $50,000 to help low income customers keep the lights on in Henderson, it helps between 300 and 400 people each year" adds Heimgartner.

The Public Service Commission found that those who paid their bills prior to the pandemic are still continuing to pay now. However nearly all of the customers who didn't pay on time before the pandemic have continued to fall behind even worse since mid march.

"Our city works really hard with people to put a payment plan together work through the late fews and everything else" says Heimgartner.

According to the PSC, many residential customers in Kentucky and Indiana in arrears, are eligible for payment assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Right now, there is no similar program for water and sewer assistance.

For those residents in Evansville that need help with their utility bill the Community Action Program of Evansville offers assistance.

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The cold front has come and gone and with it our threat for Severe Weather. However, scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue to affect portions of the Tri-State through the remainder of the evening ahead. In fact, there is a possibility that some of the thunderstorms we see between now and 9PM or so could produce small hail and wind gusts in excess of 40 mph. Anyone planning on attending a football game this evening should make sure an umbrella or poncho is on hand to keep you dry and should anticipate at least some rain delays to occur. The rain should finally exit east of the Tri-State between 10PM and 12AM; it's around that time that wind speeds will again pick up some steam - our northwesterly winds are expected to gust as high as 35 mph at times overnight.
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