Troy revises additional deposit, other measures to limit electricity bill non-payments

Burned by unpaid bills, the city of Troy checks out new application requirements for residents to get electric service.

Last week, Troy City Council spent more than an hour of its scheduled business session analyzing several proposals intended to help fix what local officials have described as a revolving door of non-payment of bills.

Options garnering broad support included installing a new deposit totaling the highest three months of recent use and requiring a credit check for applicants.

For those with little or no credit, a co-signer may be required.

“It’s just the cost of doing business,” councilman TJ Boswell said when discussing whether the city should require credit checks.

City Clerk and Treasurer Tracy Rebo cautioned council against increasing deposit amounts, especially for middle- and low-income residents. Some, she says, might not have credit.

“I’m sorry,” Rebo said. “It just won’t work.”

Clay Campbell, food manager for Troy’s Power and Light department, said the deposit was intended to act as a safety net for the department, guaranteeing a relatively small sum before possible non-payment.

The council, meanwhile, also appeared to support cutting off electrical service to a property after 30 days of non-payment in order to limit large non-payments.

Troy currently allows 60 days of non-payment, with any ignored invoices ultimately being the responsibility of the owner.

Lately, city staff told the meeting that the current shutdown schedule allows some late utility bills to climb to over $2,000 or more before service is disconnected.

Currently seeking individual proposals, City staff are drafting recommendations into a formal policy for consideration at a subsequent meeting.

Officials at the meeting said the city has some 900 electricity users and sends an average of 50 overdue notices to customers per month. Some who skip bills are often never seen again.

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