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Summerside waiting on overdue utility payments

City of Summerside
City of Summerside - Contributed

The City of Summerside is waiting on about $250,000 in customer utility payments that were incurred due to COVID-19.

The city had put payments on hold when the pandemic put P.E.I. in lock-down earlier this year. Summerside has since introduced its COVID-19 Utility Customer Support Program, which residents and businesses were to apply for by Sept. 15.

The overdue payments, which amounted to $251,500 as of Sept. 15, were discussed during Summerside council's regular meeting at city hall on Sept. 22. In July, this balance was about $330,000. The current balance consists of 676 utility customers, 22 of which are commercial accounts. Over $29,000 of the balance is over 180 days old, the city's monthly finance report reads.

Customers with overdue payments were notified and were also informed about the support program. Those who did not apply for it will be subject to the city's collection process which may include disconnection for non-payment.

"We will consider payment arrangements, but not under the COVID support program which is over a 12-month period," finance manager Kristen Dunford said. "We will work with customers, but it will be for a shorter period of time."

As well, preliminary financial results suggest the city has a deficit of $236,000, which the finance report notes is not unexpected considering the impact of the pandemic.

Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

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