UPPCO starting spring utility disconnects on Monday

Most of us will be glad that winter may now finally be on the way out, but there’s a good chance you aren’t glad about that if you’re struggling with utility bills.

Utilities are now more likely to shut off your service if you owe. They are allowed to disconnect service in the wintertime in Michigan for nonpayment. Many of them, including UPPCO, choose not to, but that seasonal grace period is just about over.

“We did plan on having to do disconnects this past week, but with the snowstorm coming, we thought it was in the best interest of our customers to hold off,” UPPCO customer operations supervisor Jodi Pineau said. “Disconnects will resume this upcoming week. Temperatures do look like they’ll be much more reasonable.”

UPPCO says that if you’re struggling, it’s important to keep the lines of communication with utility companies open throughout the winter. Making arrangements to pay what you can will help. You might be able to apply for utility assistance as well.

“Hopefully, customers have been getting notifications, seeing notices come out,” she said. “We’ve sent some postcards reminding people to apply for assistance and really encouraging people to, if they haven’t already yet, contact 211 to try to get assistance.”

More than 2,600 UPPCO customers are behind on their bills by four months or more. That’s about the same number of past due customers as last spring, but the average amount that they owe is slightly higher than last year.