NPU extends shut-off moratorium

Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) has extended its moratorium on utility shut-offs until September 9, 2020, providing residential and commercial customers with more time to catch up on past due bills.

During a presentation at the June Board meeting, NPU Commissioners were told that 19% of all customers – residential and commercial – were past-due on their accounts, representing nearly $1.9 million.

“We understand that this is a very challenging time for a number of families and businesses in our community and we want to do whatever we can to be of assistance,” said Chris LaRose, General Manager of NPU. “We hope that by continuing to provide flexibility and time for our customers to catch up on their bills, we will all be able to get through this unprecedented situation.”

Prior to the June meeting, NPU had already met or exceeded the requirements established by the State’s Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), although they do not have jurisdiction over NPU. Since March, NPU has not terminated any services for non-payment and suspended the collection of security deposits and reduced late fees.

NPU has also established the Special Payment Arrangement (SPA) program to provide customers with up to 24 months to pay their past-due balances without penalty or interest accruing. To date, more than 525 customers have made SPA agreements with NPU, which could total approximately $840,000 in payments.

The Pandemic has made a very significant impact on NPU’s finances, with revenue down by more than $1 million a month. Commercial usage of natural gas, water, electric and wastewater utilities are down by approximately 32%.

NPU is reminding customers that the suspension of service terminations for nonpayment does not eliminate the need for customers to pay their entire utility bill when the moratorium ends in September. As many customers will have larger than normal balances, NPU strongly recommends working with the Customer Service Representatives to set up a payment plan.