Ashland to begin processing delinquent utility accounts in March

ASHLAND, Ore. — The city of Ashland said as of December 2021, delinquent charges on utility accounts have risen $1.2 million dollars in comparison to December 2019 prior to the beginning of the pandemic. In order to continue supporting the utility system, the city said it needed to return to regular business practices.

Delinquent processing for utility billing charges was suspended in September 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting financial challenges. Beginning March 1, 2022, the city will begin to process outstanding utility charges.

Here’s what the city said it will look like:

City staff will begin the process on utility collections by using the interactive call out phone system that will notify customers of their outstanding balance, provide them assistance agency phone numbers, and offer payment plan options. We will use this system in March as notification only.

Beginning in April, the City will return to our standard process for delinquent processing. Each customer that is delinquent more than $50 will receive an automated call out notification upon delinquency. Utility charges are due upon receipt of the current monthly billing, however charges are not considered delinquent until a subsequent billing process.

There is a $10 charge for the delinquent notification and will only be charged once per account per month of notification.

If payment or arrangements are not made, a service person will attempt in good faith to reach a person at the service location to inform them that termination is imminent and explain the alternatives and that assistance is available.

For questions regarding the delinquent process, please refer to Ashland Municipal Code 14.02.

The city of Ashland said it does not have late fees. A $10 dollar delinquent notification fee will be assessed on each account. If services are disconnected, there is a $30 reconnection fee during regular working hours of the Electric Department (M-F 7A.M.-3:30P.M.) or a $125 reconnection fee for all other hours, weekends, or holidays.

The city of Ashland said this will be a phased approach to minimize the impact while transitioning back to normal business practices.

If you are behind on your payments, the city asks you to be proactive if you are facing financial hardship. Here are a list of organizations that the city of Ashland says offer Residential Utility Assistance.

  • ACCESS (541) 779-9020
  • Adult and Family Services (541) 482-2041
  • Salvation Army (65 and older) (541) 772-8149
  • St. Vincent DePaul (541) 708-5650
  • Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (541) 631-2235
  • Jackson County Fuel Committee (541) 488-2905

The City also offers assistance programs, which you can find below.

  • Utility Assistance Programs – The City of Ashland offers a variety of assistance programs for citizens who may have difficulty paying their utility bill. For more information, click here.
  • Senior Utility Discount – The City of Ashland offers a year round discount on Ashland utility bills for income-qualified persons age 65 or older, or qualified disabled persons age 60 or older. Click here for a discount application, for information about this program you can call (541) 488-6004.
  • Emergency HEAT Assistance – This program serves residents of any age, once a year, who have received a disconnect notice on their utility bill.  Assistance may be offered depending on available funding. Click here for a one-time assistance application, for information about this program you can call (541) 488-6004.
Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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