Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2001

Delinquent winter gas bills come due

May 3, 2001

Customers who have been delinquent on their winter natural gas bills now risk disconnection, but payment plans are still available.

Jim Bartling, manager of public affairs for Greeley Gas Company, said the cold weather grace period for service disconnections ended April 30. Now, customers who haven't paid gas bills or made payment arrangements with the company are in danger of losing service.

The Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates rates and service of public utilities, ended the grace period. Bartling said the commission initially wanted the period to run until June 1, but Greeley Gas and other Kansas utility companies in Kansas petitioned for it to end sooner.

The grace period began in late March. The period was enacted due to a harsh winter and high natural gas prices, which jumped nearly 51 percent from winter rates one year ago.

Bartling said the only customers who should be concerned with disconnections are those who haven't yet worked out a payment plan with the company.

"The people who will be receiving door tags or calls right now are people that have not contacted us or have not entered a payment arrangement until now," Bartling said. "But, if they've entered into a payment arrangement and lived with it and made their payments, they will be fine."

Greeley Gas has a payment plan that allows customers to pay one-twelfth of their total heating costs from November until April, in addition to their current monthly bills.

Should a customer receive a disconnection notice during May, and temperatures are forecasted to be below 35 degrees within the following two days, the disconnection will be delayed. This is part of the cold-weather rule, enacted by the Kansas Cooperation Commission. However, the cold-weather rule expires June 1 and customers will need to contact the company for further payment arrangements.

"As long as customers are willing to work with the utility companies, we will still be willing to work with them." Bartling said.

For more information, call Greeley Gas at 1-800-986-9996.

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