Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MLGW's efforts to reduce bad debt

The Memphis Daily News ran an article today about MLGW's efforts to reduce bad debt through the use of collection services. The article also touches on various payment and assistance programs offered by MLGW. ABC 24 is also doing a story on this issue this evening. Chris Stanley spoke with both media outlets and covered the following key messages:

--Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is seeking to hire a company - or companies - to help recover millions of dollars its customers owe. MLGW has issued a request for proposals to firms that can provide collection services, and bids are due next month.

--Over the past year, MLGW has reported $17 million in uncollected customer debt. That’s about 30 percent higher than the utility’s unpaid debt from three years ago. The current total is up from $15.2 million in 2008, $11.6 million in 2007 and $12.7 million in 2006.

--MLGW does not have a dedicated department to help collect debt right now.

--MLGW has about 30 percent of its residential customer base in arrears at any given time. The utility company also has several factors determining when utilities can and can’t be shut off. The factors include weather conditions, staffing levels and moratoriums.

--MLGW has a handful of programs it touts as a means to help struggling consumers pay their monthly bills. Among them is the ability to make payment arrangements online by visiting www.mlgw.com/payarrange.

--MLGW also has a program called “Budget Billing,” designed around the goal of allowing customers to pay the same fixed amount on their utility bills every month. An average is taken from a customer’s utility bills over two six-month periods from the previous year - April to September and October to March - and that average is supposed to be what’s paid.

--MLGW’s move to better coordinate its debt collection is something that ultimately will help ratepayers by helping us to stave off rate increases.

The Daily News article can be found here.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...