Dothan Utilities is resuming shutoffs after two months of waiving disconnections for customers with delinquent accounts, according to the city’s finance director.
They are offering additional extensions, payment plans, and debt recovery options for customers who cannot immediately pay their balance and encouraging them to contact the collections office to discuss their options.
“Unfortunately, we have customers that don’t see it as a priority until they’re physically cut off,” said Lisa Reeder, Dothan city treasurer.
The courtesy extensions have helped decrease the number of cutoffs over the last two months.
Reeder said Dothan Utilities normally has to perform 1,000 cutoffs over the course of a month due to nonpayment.
As of Tuesday, there were 1,121 customers with delinquent accounts — 175 are businesses and 946 are residential — with deficits totaling $530,988. Of those, 508 customers are due for cutoffs, representing a $253,000 debt
For those that have new Advanced Metering Infrastructure meters installed, Dothan Utilities is encouraging customers having a difficult time paying their bills to switch to a prepaid option. Whatever amount they have owed will be moved to debt recovery, and a percentage of their next payments can be used to pay off the remaining sum. Using the MyUsage application on their mobile devices, customers can self-monitor their usage every day.
“A lot of times, people don’t realize how much they’re consuming. It is something that we want to promote that are having difficulty paying their bills,” Reeder said.
In addition, customers who are having a difficult time paying their bill are encouraged to reach out to Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership at 844-680-2044 to schedule an appointment to request financial assistance.
After May 15, customers unable to pay their utility bill due to a hardship from COVID-19 are asked to email the Dothan Utilities collections office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 334-615-4100 (option 3) to set up a payment plan.