By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Anderson City Utility Office is powering up new policy guidelines to help spot billing anomalies and cover bills for customers who can’t or don’t pay.
As of April 1, the office will require soft credit checks and deposits upon request for new or transfers of service. When a customer doesn’t pay, their deposit will help pick up the tab, a release from the city said.
Over the past three fiscal years, the city was required to write off utility debt totaling $3.5 million. In the recent economy, that’s just not sustainable.
“Due to changes in the economic and business environment, it was determined that our outdated policies needed to be updated and in some cases created in order to address the issues our office is facing. “ Judy Doucette, assistant manager for Anderson Utilities Department, said in the release. “The fiscal challenges had to be addressed by changing the way we have done business and those changes require the support of solid and sound policy based on the best credit practices.”
There’s also a new financial agreement policy for customers who fall behind on their bills, which requires customers pay an initial $20 financial agreement fee and a 30 percent down payment on the total late bill. The remainder of the bill would be paid through installments over four months.
“Customers are responsible for paying their current charges and financial agreement plan on time,” the release said.
In addition, the office is implementing guidelines to correct billing anomalies, such as a high water bill caused by a leak. The utility office will notify customers, after which, they’ll have seven days to remedy the problem and file a claim.
After that, an adjustment specialist will be assigned to evaluate the problem and notify on adjustments to billing.
“Each policy was created or revised to address customer’s billing issues quickly,” the release said. “All policies will be available to customers upon request.”
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