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Credit & Collection: The Back End September 18, 2006 Minneapolis, Minnesota Tina M. Daniels, Manager, Customer Service 2006 Business & Financial Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Credit & Collection: The Back End September 18, 2006 Minneapolis, Minnesota Tina M. Daniels, Manager, Customer Service 2006 Business & Financial Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Credit & Collection: The Back End September 18, 2006 Minneapolis, Minnesota Tina M. Daniels, Manager, Customer Service 2006 Business & Financial Conference

2 Residential Delinquent Account 90 Days  Customers with unpaid bill after ninety (90) days have service terminated  13 (calendar) day notice of termination of service.  Compliance with the Department of Public Utilities Control (DPUC) regulations regarding the collection and termination of service.  Termination of service for non-payment  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays before 3:00pm.  Blue and pink statements generated and mailed separately  The blue statements  Regular billing statement  The pink statements – SHUT OFF NOTICE  Total dollar amount owed and disconnect date.  Cut list generated of accounts 90 days overdue  CCR attempt to phone each account holder  Check account for special situations:  Payment Arrangement  Medical Tags  Life Threatening – Never terminate service  Serious Illness – Only prevents termination of service Between November 15 – April 15  Hardship notice between Nov 15 and April 15  Public assistance (TVCCA, Groton Social Services, etc.)

3 Commercial Delinquent Account 60 Days  Businesses with unpaid bill after sixty (60) days have service terminated  13 (calendar) day notice of termination of service.  Termination of service for non-payment  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays before 3:00pm.  Blue and pink statements generated and mailed separately  The blue statements  Regular billing statement  The pink statements – SHUT OFF NOTICE  Total dollar amount owed and disconnect date.  Cut list generated of accounts 60 days overdue  CCR attempt to phone each account holder

4 Termination of Service - Non Payment  After the 13 (calendar) day notice of termination of service was generated  After checking customer account for any special situations:  Cut for Non-payment  9:30a.m. - 3:00pm  Any customer on the Cut Off List must pay the reconnect fee along with the delinquent balance.  Bill must be paid in full plus reconnect fee  $25.00 (8:00am – 1:00pm)  $85.00 (1:00pm – 8:00am)  Outside of Winter Moratorium customer will not be turned on after hours.  Meter Deposit will be evaluated at the time of interruption of service.  Minimum Meter Deposit is $ for electric heat / $ for Oil Heat.  Maximum Meter Deposit is Three Months of service.

5 SHUT –OFF NOTICE ACCOUNT #: TOTAL PAST DUE: $ Joan DoeAUGUST 22, 2006 PO BOX 273 MYSTIC, CT RE: ACCOUNT # BUDDINGTON RD LT29 GROTON DEAR CUSTOMER: ** URGENT * * SERVICE MAY BE SHUT-OFF AFTER THE DUE DATE IF YOU FAIL TO PAY OR MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO PAY YOUR PAST DUE AMOUNT. TOTAL PAST DUE: $ If you dispute your bill and follow the process described in the enclosed NOTICE OF CUSTOMER RIGHTS, service will not be shut-off for nonpayment during the dispute. You must pay current and undisputed bill amounts during the dispute. If it is necessary for us to disconnect your service, full payment of the Total Due, shown below, plus a reconnection fee and a deposit will be required before service can be restored. Please call (860) to make arrangements regarding the account. The Customer Service Center is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Thursday; and 8:00 AM to 12:OO PM on Saturday. GROTON UTILITIES DUE DATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2006 TOTAL DUE: $418.57

6 Liens Place a Lien on Property Owners accounts for delinquency:  Unpaid balance due is greater than $45.00 and more than 90 days in arrears.  Own the property and services at the address for which the unpaid balances is due.  Customer sent a Lien Warning Letter.  Customers with a Lien for Utility Charges and who subsequently satisfied their obligations will be issued a Release of Lien for Utility Charge.  Lien Fee (placing / removing) is added to the customers account

7 Monday, April 24, 2006 Customer ABC 123 North Street Groton, CT Dear Mr. Customer: FINAL NOTICE This letter is a final attempt to collect on Account # for your services at 123 North Street. Your account is now seriously delinquent and requires your immediate attention. The total balance on your account is $ Your prompt attention in bringing your account to current status would be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, if there is no action taken within 10 days of this letter, Groton Utilities will place a lien on the property at 123 North Street If you have already submitted payment, we apologize for this notice and please disregard this letter. If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact Barbara Nelson at (860) 446 – 4003 or myself at (860) 446 – Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Tina M Daniels Manager, Customer Accounts

8 Collection Procedures - Final Notice Customers receive FINAL notice letter requesting payment within 15 days of the date of the letter.  Discontinued services:  Receive two bills marked FINAL Bill  Unpaid balance greater than $10.00  Will receive a FINAL notice letter requesting payment within 15 days of the date of the letter.  Discontinued customers with unpaid balance greater than $25.00 will be sent to collections.  Discontinued customers with an unpaid balance of less than or equal to $10.00 will be written off and not sent to collection.

9 September 11, 2006 Joan Doe 123 North Street Groton, CT RE: Account # This letter is a final attempt to collect an unpaid balance of $ for utility service at 123 North Street in Groton. Your account is now seriously delinquent and requires your immediate attention. Please forward your payment of $ to Groton Utilities, 295 Meridian St., Groton, CT If payment is not received before March 28, 2004 we will have no option, but to report this to a collection agency and follow any legal necessary steps to collect the amount owed at the customers expense. If you have already submitted payment, we apologize for this notice and discard. If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact the collection department at (860) Sincerely, Tina M. Daniels Manager, Collections PAYMENT METHODJoan Doe ______ My signed check or money order is enclosed. ______ Charge to my credit / debit / Visa / Master card. __________________________________/____/____ Credit Card Number: Expiration Date ___________________________________ Signature (required for Credit Card Payment)

10 Collection Agency Write Off - Unpaid Balances  Unpaid balances of greater than $10.00 from discontinued customers who have received two “final bills,” a reminder notice and a final notice will be written off prior to being sent to “collection,” i.e. sent to the collection attorney or the collection agent.  Discontinued customers with an unpaid balance of less than or equal to $10.00 will be written off and not sent to collection.  Unpaid balances from bankruptcy customers written off formally notified via the United States Bankruptcy Court.  If a Lien is on the Property prior to Bankruptcy  Unpaid balances from discontinued customers where the Utility Company becomes aware that the customer will be unable to pay as in the case of death, the unpaid balance will be written off immediately without any further attempts to collect.  Write off the discontinued customer’s unpaid balance when they have met one of the following conditions:  Has been sent to collection  Has notified (via the U.S. Bankruptcy Court) that they have filed for bankruptcy  Has an unpaid balance of less than or equal to $2.00 after two final bills have been issued – see Collection procedure  Has an unpaid balance of less than or equal to $10.00 after two final bills, a reminder notice and a final notice has been sent

11 NSF Check  Customer’s checks that are returned checks are charged a $20.00 handling fee.  Customers who pay a deposit with a check that is returned NSF are treated as if they have not set up service, and subject to immediate termination of service  Customers who pay with a check that is returned NSF will be sent a letter informing of the returned check and the NSF needs to be paid in full within 13 days to prevent interruption of service.  There is no payment arrangements made on a NSF Check. Must be paid in full

12 Customer Name Customer Address City, State, Zip Friday, September 08, 2006 IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED Your check # 1234 issued for payment on account# in the amount of $ has been returned by your bank due to insufficient funds. A $20.00 return check fee along with the returned check amount has been added back to your account. You must cover this check in cash, money order or credit card within 13 days from the date of this letter to avoid shut off of your service for non-payment. *Please note personal checks will not be accepted. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Groton Utilities Customer Care Department immediately at Sincerely, Tina M. Daniels Manager, Collections Enclosure

13 Payment Arrangement  Try to make arrangements with customers needing to expand payments to pay off their bill.  Customers must sign and date the payment agreement.  Customers who fail to comply with the payment agreement are subject to immediate termination.  Will not terminate service on past due account if there is a payment arrangement (verbal / written) as long as the customer adheres to the payment agreement.  Although the specifics of the payment plan are up to the CCR, the plan must:  Consider new bills.  Pay off the amount in arrears as soon as possible.  Have a zero balance at the end of the payment agreement.  Emphasize weekly payments.  Comply with DPUC regulations, Hardship and Medical Tag Alert  Be signed by the customer and CCR.  Require the customer to agree to a plan that they can afford.  Give the yellow copy (second page) to the customer.  Retain the white copy (first page) in the CCR’s desk for weekly monitoring.

14 GROTON UTILITIES PAYMENT AGREEMENT Date:_____________________________________Phone: _____________________ NAME:____________________________________SS# ________________________ ADDRESS: ________________________________ACCT# _____________________ I HEAR BY AGREE TO PAY THE AMOUNT OF $ _______________ AS PAYMENT FOR MY DEPOSIT / UTILITY BILL AS NOTED BELOW. I AGREE TO PAY $ ______________on ______________ I UNDERSTAND THAT IF ANY PAYMENT(S) ARE NOT MADE AS STATED BY THIS AGREEMENT FOR UTILITY SERVICES IN MY NAME AT THE ABOVE ADDRESS WILL BE TERMINATED WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE. BY: _____________________________SIGNED: ______________________ (Customer Name) (Customer Care Rep) Notes:

15 Social Service Agencies Customer who need assistance can apply for assistance with an Agency Services  Some agencies accept walk–ins  Various Agencies will assist customers as a one time assistance if the customer is shut off and is just above the assistance Line.  Other Agencies require an appointment.  Customers who have been notified by the Agency that they are eligible for energy financial assistance must give a copy of the notification to utility.  Checks received from Social Services Agencies will be applied to the account for the amount of the check.

16 GROTON UTILITIES HARDSHIP CUSTOMER APPLICATION DATE: ________ OFFICE USE ONLY STATE INDENTIFICATION NO: _______________ STATE WORKER: ______________ DOCTORS' CERTIFICATE REQUIRED YES No INFORMATION TAKEN BY: _______________________DATE: ___/___/____ NAME: ______________________________ELECTRIC ACCT NO._______ - _____ ADDRESS____________________________SOCIAL SECURITYNO. ____/___/_____ HOME PHONE NO. ____________________WORK PHONE NO. _______________ STATE CARD NUMBER _______________________ IF UNEMPLOYED CHECK YOUR SOURCE OF INCOME BELOW: WELFARE SOCIAL SECURITY PENSION SUPPLMENTARY SECURITY INCOME (SSI) GENERAL ASSISTANCE OTHER (SPECIFY): ________________________________ NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS INCLUDING YOURSELF: ___________ DO YOU HAVE ANY PHYSICAL DISABILITIES? YES NO IF YES, PLEASE EXPLAIN: _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ DO YOU OWN OR RENT?OWN RENT TYPE OF HEAT (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY) GAS OIL ELECTRIC DOES ANYONE IN HOUSEHOLD HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS? YES NO IF YES, NEED TO PROVIDE PHYSICIANS CERTIFICATE FORM

17 Medical Tag Utility Company will not terminate service for life threatening illness of customers with an active medical tag.  To qualify for a Medical Tag, a licensed physician must complete a Physician's Certification of Illness Form  The form must state either Serious Illness or Life Threatening  The Form must be faxed or mailed from the physicians office.  Will verify information with doctor if needed  The Customer Care Manager will fill out the Medical Tag form for the field tech to tag the meter.  File the Physician's Certification of Illness Form along with the Medical Tag Form.  Letter sent to the customer explaining the process of the Medical Tag and other instructions for the customer to follow in case of an emergency.  The Customer Care Manager will monitor the accounts that have limited length of serious illness to check if illness still exists and remove the medical tag when appropriate.  List of the Medical Tag customers are sent to various department in the organization. (Ex: Project Management, Electric Operations, City Police Department, Service Department.)

18 PHYSICIAN’S CERTIFICATION OF ILLNESS FORM FOR GROTON UTILITIES CUSTOMERS Groton Utilities Account Number: _________________ Date: _________________ TO BE COMPLETED BY PHYSICIAN One of our customers has applied to Groton Utilities for protection against termination of his or her electric service because he/she or someone within the household is suffering from a serious illness or life threatening condition. In accordance with the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, Section , Groton Utilities will enroll your patient in our medical protection plan provided you, as a registered physician, certify in writing that he/she, or someone in the household is suffering from a serious illness or a life threatening condition. Therefore, it is necessary that you provide Groton Utilities with the following information: Please Print:Date: _________________ Patient’s Name: _______________________________________________________ Patient’s Address: ______________________________________________________ Is your Patient’s considered: (Check one) Serious Illness: This household is protected from service shut-offs between November 1 st and April 15 th.  OR Life Threatening Condition: a condition that would endanger the life of the customer or a member of the customer’s household if electric service was terminated. This household is protected from service shut-offs year round.  Projected Length of Illness or Life Threatening Condition (If no length specified, this certification must be renewed every 15 days):________________________________ Physician’s Name: _____________________________________________________ Physician’s Address: ___________________________________________________ Physician’s Telephone Number: ( ) ____________________________________ Physician’s Signature: _________________ Provider State License #: ____________ Please complete and return this form to Groton Utilities within seven (7) days of receipt. Mail to: Tina M Daniels, Groton Utilities, 295 Meridian St, Groton, CT 06340

19 September 01, 2004 «FirstName» «LastName» «Address1» Groton, Connecticut Dear Medical Alert Tag Customer: Groton Utilities is in the process of updating the Medical Alert Tag accounts. Your electrical service at «Address1» currently is noted that you have home medical equipment or a need for electrical service not to be interrupted during certain times of the year. Please have your physician complete the attached form by May 22, 2006 and fax back to (860) or send back to: Tina M Daniels Groton Utilities 295 Meridian ST Groton CT Please be aware that every effort is made to restore service as quickly as possible following any interruption; however, it is impossible to guarantee restoration in a timely manner to meet the critical needs of your situation. Circumstances such as severe weather, equipment failure, broken poles due to auto accidents, or any other cause can prolong an electrical outage indefinitely. For that reason, we urge you to investigate the possibility of obtaining a generator or an appropriate battery as a back-up electrical source for the medical equipment in your home. In addition, emergency assistance is readily available by calling “911”. Please also be aware that the Medical Tag that was placed on your meter does not prevent disconnect of electrical service on delinquent accounts that are not making arrangements to bring the account current. Sincerely, Tina M Daniels Manager, Customer Care Accounts

20 Winter Moratorium  Runs from November 15th to April 15 th  Customers on Hardship or Medical Tag will not have service interrupted  Bill insert notices are sent out to customer starting March 15 th to notify winter moratorium will be ending. WINTER MORATORIUM ENDING APRIL 15, 2006 Your electric service will be subject to shut-off for non payment if your account is more than 30 days past due after April 15 th. As always, we will try to work with you if you are having financial difficulties. We strongly advise you to come in and speak with one of our Customer Care Associates to arrange a payment plan that will amortize your unpaid balance over a reasonable period of time, while simultaneously keeping your account current as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period. Now is the time to contact us to discuss a payment plan and prevent any interruption in your utility service. We can be reached in person at our Customer Care Center at 295 Meridian Street, by telephone at and by at

21 Security Deposits (Residential) Security Deposits equal:  Minimum Meter Deposit is $ for electric heat / $ for Oil Heat.  Maximum Meter Deposit is Three Months of service. Security Deposit may be waived when the Customer provides a satisfactory letter of credit from their previous electric utility for the last 12 months. Commercial Security (Meter) Deposit Security Deposits equal to the estimated amount of three months’ service will be required. Security Deposits are never waived Three ways to pay deposit:  Cash, Check or Credit Card  Utility Guarantee Bond  Guaranteed Line of Credit Interest will be accrued monthly on all security deposits and posted to the Customer’s account each January. Refunding Deposits – Residential  Customer with 2 consecutive years of good credit history will have the Meter Deposit refunded to the active electric account. Refunding Deposits – Commercial Commercial Deposits are not refunded until the time of termination of service.

22  Inactive customers with a credit balance on their account will be issued a check within 30 days from the time they receive their final bill.  Refund checks issued to inactive accounts only.  Determine if refund can be transferred to an active account by searching for a forwarding address within Groton.  Checks processed in 1 to 2 days Refund – Credit Balances


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