EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — If you are behind on paying your electric bill, El Paso Electric says you need to call the electric company because they are gradually returning to standard billing practices.
Since March 2020, electricity has not been shut off for customers behind on payments, but that will soon change.
“What that means is beginning the first weeks of February, we’re asking customers to call us, but that would be the first time that you would see a potential interruption of service,” said Eddie Gutierrez, EPE’s vice president of Customer and Community Engagement. “For commercial accounts in Texas, it could happen as early as the week of the 18th.”
EPE will gradually resume its collections process for residential customers in Texas the week of Feb. 1. However, a disconnection moratorium is still in effect for New Mexico residential customers, who will be notified prior to resuming its regular billing procedures.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were state moratoriums that stopped disconnections, but those expired back in 2020.
However, El Paso Electric told KTSM 9 News that the company has continued services for customers behind on payments beyond the expiration of the moratorium. But now El Paso Electric is returning to the normal collection process.
According to El Paso Electric, 10 percent of customers have fallen behind on paying their electric bills during the pandemic, with a total of 40,000 customers behind and 9,000 of those customers owing more than $300.
El Paso Electric is urging those customers to reach out before their electricity is disconnected in the coming weeks.
“We want customers to call us,” said Gutierrez. “We are being extremely flexible with our payment arrangements.”
Gutierrez also warned El Paso Electric customers that scammers may try and take advantage of the situation.
“In the event that you do have an employee or a company representative at your doorstep, obviously with social distance, but in the event that that does happen, they will not collect payment in person,” said Gutierrez. “If your gut starts telling you that this person doesn’t sound or doesn’t quite sound like an El Paso Electric employee or it seems like they’re being too aggressive, that’s not how we do business.”
Gutierrez advised customers to call 1-800-592-1634 if someone asks you about payment or if you want to talk with El Paso Electric about payment options.