The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors Tuesday approved a new mandatory payment plan system for power customers struggling to pay their bills amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The utility previously suspended power shutoffs, but did not wipe out debts. Since last March, power customers have racked up more than $11.3 million in past-due balances, which is “not sustainable” for IID’s business operations, according to the utility.
The new policy means disconnections will resume in the future if customers do not fulfill their financial obligations spelled out in the forthcoming payment plans, which are scheduled to take effect next month.
“Our goal is to continue to assist our customers, to keep the lights on in these difficult and unprecedented times, while also protecting the financial health of the district so that IID can continue to be able to provide essential services,” IID General Manager Henry Martinez said. “Today’s action, while compassionate and understanding, helps both our customers and the district get back on track.”
Starting Feb. 17, customers who owed more than $50 as of Dec. 31 will be automatically enrolled in payment plans spanning eight months to a year. The one-year payment plans will be reserved for customers who can demonstrate financial hardships, while other customers will have eight months to pay back their debts.
The utility said it will also offer individuals not suffering financial hardships the possibility to re-pay their debts over a year instead of eight months if they first pay 25% of their past-due debt.
The utility’s energy service area covers 6,471 square miles, including parts of Riverside and San Diego counties, and all of Imperial County.
In the Coachella Valley, IID’s customer service center is located at 81-600 Avenue 58 in La Quinta.
More information about the district’s coronavirus response can be accessed at www.iid.com/about-iid/news-resources/covid-19.
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