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Kaukauna Utilities starting disconnects

Brian Roebke

If you have a past due amount of $500 or more, you may have heard from Kaukauna Utilities during the past few days.

The state’s public service commission extended its normal date for disconnecting service from April 15 to July 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic, so KU is now working on making arrangements for those with outstanding balances. Otherwise, service will be disconnected.

The utility’s lobby has reopened but they are trying to encourage dropbox, mail or online options for contacting the utility.

Since the pandemic began, everyone’s lives changed, but General Manager Jeff Feldt believes by the end of the year, water and electric use will be around budget for the year. Usage of both has been down since March but is steadily increasing.

Since waiving the fee for customers to pay their bills with credit cards, KU has found the percentage of people paying with plastic has slowly but steadily increased.

Last June, more than half of the payments were by cash or check, but this year it’s less than half, 44 percent.

KU unveiled “My Account” in May which continues to grow in popularity, with 3,600 customers enrolled as of last week’s Kaukauna Utilities Commission meeting.

Commissioners like how the My Account works and thinks it’s advantageous for all customers to sign up, and the utility can use social media to help people realize what they can learn from it.

The outages on June 22 and 29 were good opportunities for KU to see the outage management system work. Manager of Electric Distribution Eric Miller said it showed the veteran status of the crew in restoring power as quickly as they did on June 29.

“It was a very complicated outage,” he said.

The OMS system informed customers by a text of the outages, but they found a few glitches that are being addressed. “The responses I heard back were pretty positive,” he said.

One issue is people receiving notices of power out, thinking it was their home, but it was in fact a second property they owned. It was noted the notifications include the address of the outage that some people did not see.