The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors approved a plan that would begin communications regarding payment plans and the reinstatement of disconnections for nonpayment effective next month.
Imperial Irrigation District is a non-profit entity. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it voluntarily suspended disconnections for non-payments on March 16, 2020, for residential and commercial customers in compliance with utility consumer protections.
IID has made every effort to assist customers during the pandemic by offering, payment deferrals, payment plans, and flexibility of security deposits as well as eligibility requirements of energy assistance programs.
IID customers’ past due balances total $11.3 million, an amount that is about quadruple the average outstanding customer debt accrued since the beginning of COVID-19.
After paying close attention to Assembly Bill 15 as well as other legislative rulings, communication with other utilities, and taking into consideration local community advocacy suggestions, staff proposed to implement a plan where customers will have an opportunity to enroll in a payment plan with IID by February 17, 2021. As of February 17, 2021, the Disconnect Moratorium dated March of 2020 will be rescinded and IID will resume disconnect for non-payments as normal. Any customers not enrolled in a payment plan and have a past balance of more than $50 as of December 31, 2020, will be automatically enrolled in one of the following plans:
- Customers will be put on an eight-month payment plan for all-electric utility debt accrued through December 31, 2020. Any bills after December 31, 2020, will be needed to be paid as scheduled in addition to the installment plan.
- Customers who provide the district with COVID-19 declaration and documentation of financial hardships, or on one of IID’s energy assistance programs will be put on a twelve-month payment plan for all-electric utility debt accrued as of December 31, 2020. Any bills after December 31, 2020, will need to be paid a scheduled in addition to the installment payment plan.
- In addition, all customers on a low-income program or that declare a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will be referred to other agencies that could provide additional assistance.
- Customers requesting a payment plan over eight months and are not under financial hardships will be required to pay a minimum of 25 percent of their accrued utility debt through December 31, 2020, with the remaining balance payable over up to a twelve-month period. Any bills after December 31, 2020, will be on a normal billing cycle and expected to be paid as scheduled in addition to the installment payment plan.
A declaration of financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will need to be signed as well as proof of financial hardship will need to be provided for those customers that have suffered financially as a result of COVID-19.
In addition, all customers on a low-income program or that declare a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will be referred to other agencies that could provide additional assistance.
IID’s goal is to continue to assist its customers during these difficult unprecedented times while also protecting its financial health in order to continue to be able to provide essential eclectic services to its ratepayers.