El Paso Electric (EPE) officials announced Friday afternoon that the utility will resume its standard billing, payment and collection practices in the coming weeks while keeping flexible payment options available for customers in need.
“No one at EPE wants to see a customer disconnected for nonpayment and that is why we are asking our customers to contact our Customer Care Team immediately to learn about the availability of financial assistance, flexible payment arrangements and other payment options,” said Eddie Gutierrez, EPE’s Vice President of Customer and Community Engagement.
“For several months, we have been reaching out to customers to offer payment plans and provide information on payment assistance. We have been actively working with customers who contact us to prevent the disconnection of electric service and we will continue to help our customers access resources to help manage their bills as we return to standard billing practices. With the increasing amount of debt customers are accumulating, we ask that anyone needing assistance contact us as soon as possible to take advantage of the flexible options that are available.”
Although EPE’s standard collection activity can include disconnection for non-payment, EPE is committed to working with our customers to lower outstanding balances through flexible payment plans, the budget billing program and connecting them to all available assistance programs.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, EPE immediately and voluntarily suspended all disconnections for nonpayment prior to the disconnect moratoriums issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and the State of New Mexico.
Although the disconnection moratorium from the PUCT expired on August 31, 2020, EPE continued to suspend disconnections for nonpayment during the increase of COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter.
Through it all, EPE encouraged customers to actively contact the Company to identify a payment plan or connect customers with resources available for bill payment assistance.
With the resumption of EPE standard billing, payment and collection practices, customers with outstanding balances will receive notices regarding past-due amounts on their account by mail. In addition, EPE will attempt to contact customers in-person.
EPE will gradually resume its collections process starting the week of January 18 for commercial customers in New Mexico and Texas and the week of February 1 for residential customers in Texas.
A disconnection moratorium is still in effect for New Mexico residential customers, and EPE will notify its New Mexico customers prior to resuming its regular billing procedures.
Utility officials add that it is important for customers to know that EPE employees contacting customers in-person will never demand payment nor accept customer payments. Additionally, EPE will never call customers and threaten to shut off their service if payment isn’t made immediately.
If customers are in doubt, they should contact the Customer Care Team immediately at (800) 592-1634 or by email at CustomerCare@epelectric.com.