The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities has announced it won’t disconnect customers for nonpayment through May 31.
According to a spokesman, the BPU has extended the moratorium on disconnecting electric and water service to customers.
It’s too early to tell right now how the BPU has been affected, said David Mehlhaff, chief communications officer for the BPU.
There are some customers who are behind in their payments, he added. He is advising customers to do their best to keep up with their payments to avoid getting too far behind, and contact the BPU customer service office at 913-573-9190 for a utilty representative to assist them.
Customers who are having trouble with their payments could make payment arrangements or be put in touch with a hardship program, he added.
The moratorium on disconnections is a result of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of people unemployed because of a stay-at-home order to stop the spread of the disease. An order from the governor suspended all utility disconnects through May 1.
Mehlhaff said it is too early at this point to know the exact financial losses the utility could be experiencing in the past month.
The BPU also recently asked customers not to go up to utility workers who are in the field, but to try to maintain social distancing with them for safety reasons.
The BPU has had two positive COVID-19 cases among staff, including one in customer service.
Mehlhaff said a plan has been put in place to address COVID-19, and the BPU lobby still will be closed a while because of social distancing. The BPU buildings currently are closed to the public. The utility is following guidelines from the CDC to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the spokesman.
Customers have been able to go inside the door of the administration building to pay their bills at a kiosk, but that is being limited to one customer at a time.
Mehlhaff said the BPU is trying to offer many different ways for customers to pay their bills, other than coming into the lobby. There are BPU bill kiosks at some area grocery stores, he said. Customers also can pay by mail, online at www.bpu.com and by telephone at 1-855-278-2455.
Those who have been financially affected by COVID-19 may call the BPU at 913-573-9145 to set up payment arrangements or for other payment options available.
The BPU is continuing to send out reminders including collection notices and calls about past due balances, even though it is not disconnecting utilities currently.