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Rochester, MN I(KROC AM News) - A report shows the financial total of unpaid bills by Rochester Public Utilities customers has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of the end of October, the total was approaching $3-million.

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM
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The report was presented to the RPU Board Tuesday. It shows past-due account balances increased from $1,348,197 at the end of February 2020 to $2,787,809 at the end of October 2021. Overdue residential bills accounted for nearly $1.7-million of the total.

The average past due amount for residential customers climbed to $300 by the end of October, twice the figure reported at the end of Feb. 2020. The average for commercial accounts during that time frame nearly tripled to $2700.

RPU document
RPU document
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The report notes nearly 550 payment arrangements were in good standing as of Nov 10th. The arrangements represent about a fourth of the overall past due total.

The report also notes disconnection of service for nonpayment of accounts was suspended at the end of September for residential customers. This could lead to more unpaid bills.

RPU spokesman Tony Benson added this information after the report was presented:

As a result of the impact of the Pandemic on RPU about 10% of customers have fallen behind on their utility bills. The majority of customers continue to pay their utility bills when they are due. Roughly the same percentage of customers had past due balances prior to the Pandemic however the average balance past due has increased.

RPU works actively with Three Rivers Community Action, Olmsted County, and RentHelpMN to connect customers that qualified to the different assistance programs that they may qualify for. After reaching a high point in March of 2021, and through the efforts of the RPU and assistance agencies, we continue to see a favorable or downward trend in the total past due balances.

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