Once again, one of the listservs I subscribe to provided the subject matter for a newsletter. This time it was a town manager asking about policies allowing repayment plans.
A previous Utility Information Pipeline described the distinctions between extensions, installment services, and payment arrangements. This issue will examine some of the requirements many utilities impose on customers requesting a repayment plan.
Limited number of repayment plans
Most utilities impose a limit on the number of repayment plans a customer may have within a given timeframe. For example, only allowing two extensions per calendar year or twelve month period.
The rationale for this is, under normal circumstances, your customers should be able to pay their bill by your established due date. Customers who habitually request additional time to pay are abusing the system.
No history of dishonored payment plans
For most utilities that offer repayment plans, failing to honor a previous payment plan automatically makes a customer ineligible for future payment plans. If your customer failed to live up to their agreement, why allow them to take advantage of you again?
Perhaps the most important part is to require a signed agreement stating the repayment terms and consequences of failing to honor the agreement.
This signed agreement should include promised payment dates and amounts, along with any interest or finance charge to be assessed. As with any legal document, it’s always wise to consult with your attorney when drafting the document.
2017 Utility Fee Survey
The 2017 Utility Fee Survey is still open. If you haven’t already completed it, and would like to participate, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete. For an idea of what to expect from the survey, here are the results of the 2015 Utility Fee Survey:
- 2015 Utility Fee Survey Results – Part I
- 2015 Utility Fee Survey Results – Part II
- 2015 Utility Fee Survey Results – Part III
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 919-232-2320.
I’m hoping for as much participation as possible in the survey, so please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues at other utilities.
Thank you in advance for your participation in the 2017 Utility Fee Survey.
North Carolina Rural Water Association presentation
If you or any of your co-workers or board members will be attending the North Carolina Rural Water Association Annual Conference, please be sure to attend my presentation on Improving Revenue Collections for Utilities this Thursday, May 18 at 8:30am.
If you or someone from your utility does attend, please be sure to introduce yourselves!
If you’re considering offering payment plans or are unsure if your delinquent account policies are adequate, please give me a call at 919-232-2320, or email me at email@example.com for more information about how a business review could help you review your entire office operation.
© 2017 Gary Sanders