For some of those utility customers who were allowed suspensions of their bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they now find themselves hit with a buildup of bills as utilities resume disconnects.
In some cases, customers find they have to pay 2 to 3 months of unpaid bills or face total cutoff. Those customers have to resort to seeking assistance.
This week, Oklahoma Gas and Electric announced it planned to resume its disconnect policy but at the same time offered assistance to those behind on their bills.
A spokesman for OGE, Brian Alford says the utility has nearly 25,000 customers with unpaid bills during the pandemic. Some are being allowed to participate in a six-month installment plan. Or another option is for the OGE customer to switch to the utility’s Average Monthly Billing plan which would spread the past due balances over a year-long time period.
Still another option is OGE’s Lend-a-Hand program offered through the Salvation Army.
“Some customers struggled with the economic effects of COVID-19 and have had to delay payments due to illness or job loss,” Alford told The Oklahoman. “While the disconnect process is resuming, we’re committed to working with those affected during these tight times.”
He said the company has broadened its payment options to be more flexible and give customers more billing options.