Thursday, June 28, 2012
Utility Bill Payment and Collections
City of Austin Customer Assistance Program Summit - June 28, 2012
The City of Austin utility bill payment and collections process is designed to give a customer a number of reminders and opportunities to pay a utility bill and keep their account in good standing.
The amount of time between when a bill is issued and the payment due date has been reduced from 23 days to 17 days. In addition, the number of days between when a bill is issued and the possible disconnection of utility services due to non-payment is being reduced slightly from 46 days to 35 days. These changes conform more closely to industry standards and to best practice guidelines set by the Texas Public Utility Commission.
The City of Austin bill payment and collections process provides substantial opportunity for customers to keep their utility account up to date. Here are the timelines for the Collections process:
Day 1- Bill issuance date
Day 17 - Bill payment due date
Day 21 - Delinquent notice sent
Day 31 - Delinquent notice bill payment due date
Day 33 - 24-hour notification that services will be disconnected if payment is not received Day 35 - Disconnection of utility service if payment is not received
Options available for overdue accounts
Customers who fall behind on their utility bill can set up a Payment Arrangement. This allows the customer to break up a large balance due and pay part of that balance each month – along with current monthly charges.
Customers with a good payment history may ask for a one-time extension on a utility bill. Under this option the customer would be simply be given additional time to pay their bill in full.
Under Budget Billing a customer pays the same amount each month. This monthly amount is determined by averaging their utility bill costs for the previous 12-month period. Budget Billing accounts are reviewed every six months to adjust a monthly payment that falls far below or above actual usage. This might occur, for instance, during a summer or winter that is much warmer or colder than normal.
A customer can also take advantage of Auto Pay. This option can be set up by visiting www.coautilities.com to have your bank account pay your City of Austin utility bill automatically each month on the due date of the bill.