Sun Prairie Utilities (SPU) will extend its moratorium on disconnects until June 10 to avoid disrupting kids learning virtually.
State regulators prohibited utility disconnects for the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic financially impacted people, but the moratorium was lifted on April 15.
The SPU Commission OK’d the June extension after the Sun Prairie School Board requested it to prevent disruption of students learning.
“We decided on the delay to June 10 until school lets out to be fair to families who have school-aged children learning virtually,” said SPU Manager Rick Wicklund.
SPU has 71 households that haven’t made significant payments for at least a year, with average past due bills of $1,722 per account.
SPU delinquent customers spiked in April 2019 as the state’s safer-at-home order shut down non-essential businesses and impacted workers.
SPU is required to work with delinquent customers to set up payment plans but Wicklund said that has seen mixed results with customers not responding.
“We suggest that people contact us to set up a payment arrangement,” Wicklund said. “We also direct customers to charitable organizations that can offer assistance.”
Customers who don’t contact SPU could face disconnects after June 10.
Agencies that can help with past due utility bills include Energy Services of Dane County, Tenant Resource Center of Dane County, Community Action Coalition of Southern Central Wisconsin and Sunshine Place/Joining Forces for Families.
SPU has given Sunshine Place $75,000 during the past year to help people with energy assistance.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin regulates the state’s utilities and reports that federal and state aid is available to customers struggling to pay their utility bills. To learn about programs or apply for assistance, visit energybenefit.wi.gov or call 1- 800-506-5596.
Help for past-due SPU customers
Customers who need financial assistance paying their utility bills may contact the following agencies:
Energy Services Inc. — 608-333-0333
Joining Forces for Families/ Sunshine Place — 608-825-3225
Tenant Resource Center of Dane County — 608-246-4730.