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Cold weather rule in effect, city exempt from rule

Staff writer

The cold weather rule, which helps people avoid utility disconnection during winter months, will be in effect Nov. 1 through March 31.

Marion and Hillsboro’s city electric utilities are exempt from the rule, but other electric and natural gas utilities in the county must comply.

Service cannot be shut off when temperatures are forecast to be 35 degrees or colder over the next 24 hours. The rule also requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan so customers can maintain or re-establish utility service, but it is the customer’s responsibility to contact the utility company and make arrangements.

Marion city administrator Roger Holter said the city doesn’t shut off electric service as long as a customer is making payment on any past due amount.

“If they are not making payment, it will be cut off,” Holter said. “We have the extension program that will move the due date from the 15th to the 3rd of the next month.”

Holter said another option is to prepay toward months when the customer’s utility bills will be higher.

“That way you can plan and budget for it,” Holter said. “We’ll be more than glad to counsel with them just by calling in to the office.”

Hillsboro city administrator Larry Paine, said the city takes very cold temperatures into account when they start doing shutoffs for non-payment.

“We have a program that we will make arrangements to delay payment for a month,” Paine said. “We will offer this two times per year and then it’s no longer offered.”

Hillsboro also offers a 12-month plan that estimates the customer’s utility bills and divides them into 12 equal payments to make it easier to budget.

“We’ve got quite a few customers who take advantage of that,” Paine said. “Each and every month we expect people to pay their bill. We’re not the bank of Hillsboro where we would issue credit.”

Last modified Oct. 27, 2016

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