For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — April 15 is the last day before Wisconsin utilities can begin to cut off service to customers who have fallen behind in their payments during the winter months.
Marshfield Utilities General Manager Bob Trussoni considers disconnection of electrical services a last resort.
“The end of the moratorium period can be a difficult time for some of our customers,” Trussoni said. “We want to work with our customers to keep their accounts current.”
Customers who have fallen behind in their utility payments are encouraged to contact Marshfield Utilities.
Financial Manager Kent Mueller said, “We will work with our customers to review payment options to help them work toward keeping their power on. We also work with government- and community-based agencies to provide assistance with payment programs, energy assistance, and weatherization.”
Customers who believe that they may qualify for energy assistance are encouraged to call Wood County Human Services at 715-421-8659 or Marathon County Energy Services at 715-842-3111 as soon as possible.
Marshfield Utilities also offers free energy audits for residential customers. Jim Benson, the energy and water conservation coordinator, can help customers who wish to explore options to reduce their bills through conservation measures. Benson may be contacted at 715-898-2132 to schedule an energy and water audit.
Mueller added that Marshfield Utilities takes a number of steps to let customers know that they are in arrears on their utility bills. Those efforts include:
—Disconnect notices printed on the utility bill.
—Disconnect notices inserted into bill envelopes.
—Calls or disconnect tags to remind customers prior to disconnection.
—Winter notices, which included contact information for the energy assistance, North Central Community Action Program, and First Call for Information (211).
If a customer is disconnected due to nonpayment of a utility bill, Marshfield Utilities will require that a deposit be paid unless the customer’s income is below the deposit guidelines.
About 1,000 Marshfield Utilities customers could face disconnection when the moratorium ends in mid-April.
“We really don’t want to cut off service to any of our customers, but it’s only fair to our other customers that we do everything we can to secure payments,” Trussoni said. “We want to work with our customers to be sure that we continue to provide for their electric and water service needs.”