Updated: May 13, 2021 10:38 PM
Created: May 13, 2021 05:53 PM
Comfort Systems and Minnesota Power are warning customers with overdue bills about possible utility disconnections in August.
Utility disconnections had been halted due to the pandemic. Comfort Systems, which provides natural gas service in Duluth, says about 1,800 customers are 90 or more days behind on their bills, totalling $970,000.
Comfort Systems is going to resume its regular collections process on May 26. It is encouraging customers with overdue bills to seek assistance from RentHelpMN, a financial assistance program that can help with rent and past-due utility bills.
"We're going to mail letters to all of the past due utility holders, and make sure they know exactly how to call, email, find out all that information. All of that information is also on our website, and on our customer portal," said Lydia Schroeder, a project coordinator at Comfort Systems.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Power says it will resume sending out disconnection notices in June. Customers will have 60 days to work with Minnesota Power to set up a payment plan before service disconnections begin in August.
“We want to make sure customers have enough time to connect with available resources, explore options for managing their bill, and have a plan in place to avoid any disruption of service. Disconnection for customers who have past-due balances has always been a last resort. We’re here to help if you’re struggling," said Tina Koecher, Minnesota Power's manager of Customer Experience Operations, in a news release.
Minnesota Power offers a CARE program that gives income-qualified households a discount on monthly electric bills. It is also is referring people to the state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program.
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