BTU and CSU to resume utility disconnections

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 5:59 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan Texas Utilities and College Station Utilities customers don’t have much time left if they are behind on their payments.

After a three month delay on disconnections and late fees, both utilities are resuming the termination of services.

Right now CSU is scheduled to disconnect 76 customers on Thursday. BTU will start on Monday saying they can typically do up to 100 a day.

“I don’t feel utilities should be shut down for anybody especially during a global pandemic,” said Anita Rigoli of College Station. She and her family recently moved to the area. She reached out after hearing lots of concerns from residents online.

“This is not an issue that affects us luckily, but I’m not naive to say that this couldn’t be a situation for ourselves. We never know what could happen to our own situation so I look at it that way,” said Rigoli.

Rigoli believes it’s critically important to keep utilities on during the recent heatwave.

CSU and BTU say customers should reach out to them directly to discuss payment plans and options to avoid a disconnect.

“Utility Customer Service continues to help CSU customers who need assistance with payment arrangements. Additionally, utility payment assistance remains available through United Way 2-1-1,” said Mary Ellen Leonard, College Station’s Finance Director, through an email.

“Throughout this pandemic, the two cities have worked together to put hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding in the hands of those who need utility and rent assistance, small business grants, and payroll assistance. Another round of funding for local businesses is being released by College Station and Bryan today. We remain committed to supporting our friends and neighbors, and to helping our customers avoid disruption of service,” said Leonard.

”We have roughly 2,200 customers that are 30 days or more behind on their bills and that typically would be around 300 or 400 customers,” said Vicki Reim, Bryan Texas Utilities Division Manager of Operations.

We asked about thoughts on postponing disconnects until the pandemic eases.

“The unfortunate part is that it is time to get back into some kind of normal business and being a publicly-owned utility it is you know one of our obligations to pay our bills and keep lights on and keep that going so we do have to have normal business return and we are working with our customers and giving them as much time as we can,” said Reim.

Rigoli hopes the utilities will look at new ways to help customers as they combat COVID-19.

“I also see it as social responsibilities to take care of our own community members you know in a way we’re advocates for everyone in the community,” said Rigoli.

We have more information on the United Way 2-1-1 hotline here.

BTU’s website with information is here.

CSU’s website with information is here.

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