While the V.I. Water and Power Authority has offered an installment plan to all customers whose March utility bill covers a roughly 60-day service period, a slight modification to the plan makes it more convenient to establish the payment plan, and make the installment payments over the next three months, according to a release from WAPA.
These are bills for power customers in fact used but were not billed on time due to delayed meter readings.
The news release issued Tuesday says that while WAPA would prefer for customers to pay the entire 60-day bill when due, “in consideration to our customers, both residents and businesses, WAPA will automatically enroll customers in the installment payment plan once the one-half bill payment is made in March.”
The customer will then be obligated, per the terms of the plan, to make the remaining balance in equal installments along with their regular monthly bills in April, May and June, respectively.
For example, a customer who receives a March bill for $600 must pay half of the total, or $300, by the March due date. The customer will then exercise the installment plan and pay $100 per month for the next three months – April, May and June – to satisfy the remaining $300 balance, plus their regular bills that will be issued in those months. Using this payment plan, by the July billing period the balance of the March 60-day bill will have been paid off.
If a customer does not make the first half payment of the March bill by the due date, the account is subject to disconnection, the utility warned. Payment of the delinquent amount and a reconnection fee will be required for service to be reestablished. Installment payment plans will not be extended to customers who fail to make payment on their March bill. Similarly, if customers fail to pay their regular bills plus the installment amounts in April, May and June, their accounts will also be subject to disconnection of service.
Customers enrolled in Autopay are reminded that unless they arrange with a customer service representative before the bill due date to enter into an installment plan, the Autopay service will debit the full amount of the March bill on its due date.
The 60-day bill was issued to allow WAPA to capture lost billing days and cycles.
“These bills are issued for services that have long been provided but unbilled. The Authority must normalize its billing functions and collect approximately $23 million in unbilled revenue. This is a step in that direction,” WAPA Chief Financial Officer Debra Gottlieb said in the release.
According to WAPA the automatic engagement of the payment plan for all customers is a means of limiting the number of customers required to visit the Authority’s customer service offices.
Since Monday, WAPA has offered only limited service at Customer Service offices territorywide. The Authority is encouraging online and telephonic business transactions. Cashiers remain available for limited payment transactions. Limiting the interaction of customer service representatives with the public is one of the steps the Authority has taken in an abundance of caution of the new coronavirus and its uncertainty, the release said.