A Northern Kentucky utility company suspended penalties and disconnections earlier this year because of the pandemic. That grace period is about to end. Sanitation District 1 spokesman Chris Cole says Governor Andy Beshear ordered the statewide suspension as customers faced COVID-related hardships.
The order ended Nov. 6, but Cole says SD-1 isn't enforcing it until after Friday. He says they don't want to disconnect anyone. "We've created six-month payment plans. We're putting all residential accounts that have an overdue balance, we're automatically enrolling them in a six-month payment plan to make sure they have time to get caught up so they don't have their water shut off."
Cole says SD-1 wanted to give people as much time as possible to make plans for paying their bills. "The costs certainly don't go away and haven't gone away. We have to continue to provide this critical service," Cole says. "It is an unfortunate reality, but one that we hope that this change in January will impact as few people as possible."
Cole says crews won't start disconnecting past-due customers on Friday, Jan. 1 and instead honor the six-month payment plan for its customers.
"Utilities could begin charging penalties and shut offs again as of November 6. But SD-1 made the decision internally to wait until January to give people a little extra time to plan for that change."
Other help may be available to some customers through a relief fund. SD-1 is also working with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission and the Brighton Center to help customers who qualify.