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CHICAGO — Hundreds of thousands of utility customers are at risk of disconnections as the sagging economy drives up the number of past-due home heating bills and the amounts owed, utility companies in cold-weather states say.
Xcel Energy says 17%-19% of its 1.1 million Minnesota customers and its 280,000 Wisconsin customers are in arrears. That's about the same as a year ago, but balances owed are up 10% in Minnesota and up 20% in Wisconsin, says Pat Boland, Xcel's credit policy manager.
Xcel disconnects 600-650 customers daily, he says. "Obviously the economy is playing a very big role in the disposable income that folks have," Boland says. Another factor: Cold weather added 7%-8% to this year's bills.
• Central Maine Power Company says that as of March 31, 29,000 of its 537,000 residential customers had not paid anything on their accounts since December — a 4% increase from 2007.
Northern Utilities, which supplies natural gas to 26,000 residential and business customers in Maine, says the amount owed by customers whose bills are 30-60 days past due is up 45% from the first quarter of 2007.
Northern's customers in New Hampshire and accounts at sister company Bay State Gas in Massachusetts have similar arrearages, says spokeswoman Sheila Doiron.
• In River Falls, Wis., a city of 14,000, service to a dozen homes with overdue bills was discontinued by River Falls Municipal Utilities this month, says customer service supervisor Jan Lorenz. The utility has 5,800 customers. "In past years, nobody would be shut off," she says.
Home foreclosures and high gasoline prices are part of the problem. "We see people that just move in the middle of the night and they're gone," Lorenz says. "We have people say, 'I can't afford gas to go to work, so how can I pay my bills?' "
Originally posted by Divinorumus
Funny, I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. I truly enjoy these "downfall of the USA" stories and reports. By the end of this year, the USA could become the new Mexico of this continent, with US citizens trying to sneak into Canada for a chance at the good life. I laugh my ass off just picturing big fat overweight pompous Americans being hurled back over the fence. Arharharhar, he he he, ha ha ha! Teach! Karmatic payback for treating those other "Earth Citizens" as second rate humans during these last year when those pompous hoity toity elitist BIGOTS were tossing Mexicans back over the fence. I publicly put a super duper curse upon the USA when they started acting like that towards their fellow mankind citizens, and I said there will come a day when THEY themselves will be sorry for the way they have acted, and I'm so tickled with delight to see everything is proceeding AS PLANNED. Funny, funny, funny. Isn't karma WONDERFUL? Yup!
Laugh it up a*****e, Im sure your "super duper" curse is working as expected Nice to try and blame honest, working class Americans for things that they have no control over. Also, you ever consider that your Mexican invasion probably has a heck of a lot to do with the reason our economy is sinking down the tubes?
Your post was a complete waste of time. Enjoy your pathetic little life Troll.
Originally posted by hinky
One thing I noticed right away reading all the posts. Seems like everyone whining has money to pay for internet service. There may be a person or two using the internet at work to post here, maybe even using the library computers. But really, I don't get my service for free.