The City of Penticton will soon resume disconnecting utilities for non-payment.
City council unanimously voted in favour of resuming disconnections in Tuesday’s (March 16) council meeting.
In March the city suspended disconnection of utilities for 90 days to help people with financial struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disconnections will resume on July 8 for accounts that have unpaid fees.
Overall, most Penticton residents have been able to keep up with their utility bills during the pandemic. There are 170 accounts currently eligible for disconnection out of a total 20,000.
The city expects many account holders who are behind on their payments will bring their accounts up to date as the city begins delivering disconnection notices in the near future.
Council unanimously voted in favour of gradually disconnecting accounts with balances owing over a period of three months. Accounts that have not been paid at all in recent months will be the first to be disconnected.
Coun. Frank Regehr spoke in support of the motion. Regehr suggested that the city “made a bit of a problem” by creating a higher amount of debt than normal for people facing financial difficulties by allowing them to put off paying their utility bills for months at a time.
“We want to try to collect the money for the city, I think this is probably the best for a difficult time for a lot of people,” said Regehr. “Nobody really wants to see disconnections.”
Previously, the city announced they would be providing a 10 per cent discount on all utility bills for the remainder of 2020.