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Grace period doesn't mean utility bill payment isn't eventually required
water faucet

Utility bills will not be forgiven for residents who are delaying payments until economic times improve.

McMinnville Electric System, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and McMinnville Water Department would like to remind their customers they are understanding during these difficult times, but debts associated with water and electricity can’t be forgiven. 

“I think we need to get the word out that unpaid utility bills will accumulate and still have to be paid at some point,” said McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman. “Utility bills won’t be forgiven. They can’t be forgiven. We’re carefully regulated by the state. We will give you time to pay and even spread what’s owed out over several months, but it must be paid.”

Newman’s sentiments were shared by both MES general manager Rodney Boyd and Caney Fork general manager Bill Rogers. 

During this difficult time of layoffs and furloughs due to the economic slowdown, many utility companies opted to allow customers to delay paying their bills, if necessary, as a helping hand. This removed the fear a utility service might be disconnected for failure to make a payment. It does not mean customers will receive free electricity and water. 

“If you undergo a financially difficult time, we understand,” said Newman. “Pay what you can when you can. Partial payments will be accepted. Penalties for late payments are being waived. What we don’t want people to do is to stop paying their bills because they know we won’t shut it off. Once the moratorium is over, those utility bills will still have to be paid.”

Companies are doing what they can to assist customers, while staying within state regulations. 

McMinnville Electric System is waiving fees associated with paying with a debit/ credit card or payment within MESPowerApp. Customers who do pay that way or who sign up for bank draft will receive a gift certificate for use at a local vendor. The gift certificate campaign will last until May 17. 

If you are among the many individuals struggling financially, reach out to your utility provider for more information about what they can do to help.