As utility bills go out in the El Campo area again this month, officials are waiting to see if mail deliveries will return to normal.
Last month thousands of accounts in the City of El Campo, Wharton County Electric Cooperative and the Isaacson Municipal Utility District were affected with customers not even receiving their bills until after the cut-off dates, payments coming in two weeks or more after being mailed or other issues.
With the re-opening of the North Houston Processing Center, mail is being processed at normal rates, U.S. Post Office Spokesperson Kanickewa “Nikki” Johnson told the Leader-News.
For utility officials, however, it’s a matter of wait and hope.
“(Last month), it was a lot, probably 500 or more,” City Finance Director Brittni Nanson said.
At WCEC it was 3,000 accounts, according to Manager of Customer Services Mary Arredondo, who said that normally unpaid accounts each month number about 60.
In the IMUD, 25 bills were delivered to one mailbox, all marked undeliverable. All, IMUD President Collette Popp said, were for residents who had lived in the district and received bills for years. “These people had always gotten their bills.”
Others did not receive bills at all.
All three agencies waived penalties.
“We would never disconnect anyone with excellent credit,” Arredondo said.
“We’re waiving penalties. A lot were elderly people who had never made a late payment,” Nanson said, adding, “No one got a disconnect who wasn’t supposed to.”
In the IMUD, staff is concerned that those not receiving a bill may not realize they still owe a payment.
Bills went out again at the first of the month.
“It’s a wait and see what will happen,” Nanson said. “They are still telling us it’s the distribution center. We can’t blame them here ... if it’s an ongoing issue they are trying everything they can to help.”
WCEC remains concerned as well, Arredondo said. “They are telling us this could go on for months.”
The IMUD was told the post office was “working out some kind of difficulty.” She added, “We’d like residents to know we are doing business as usual. All of our lives just got a wrench thrown in.”
City customers who have not received a bill by now can call 979-541-5000 to find out what their balance is.
Those wanting to make a payment can chose options like the drop box, online payments or automatic bank drafts too.
WCEC recommends those not getting a bill by the 10th of the month to contact the office at 979-543-6271.
The IMUD can be reached at 979-543-6844.