The Pryor Times

March 22, 2014

After hours reconnections stop

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Pryor Municipal Utility Board will no longer do after-hour utility reconnections on delinquent accounts.

At the board meeting Monday, the board discussed the current policy of reconnecting utility services after normal business hours.

“We’re all about community service, but we also care a lot about employee safety,” said Board Chairman Jack Ledbetter.

“It’s starting to become a safety concern. After 5 p.m., if someone calls to have their utilities reconnected which have been turned off because of delinquent payments, we send out one worker to collect payment and reconnect,” said MUG General Manager Gary Pruett. “My concern is the environment we’re subjecting our crews to. “

Pruett said the workers have been threatened with violence and lawsuits. MUB attorney Fred Sordahl said utility workers collecting payment on site is no longer good business practice anyway.

“Honestly, I’m sincerely sorry I didn’t know we were even doing this to our crews,” said Ledbetter.

Pruett made a recommendation that either this service no longer be offered, or that the after-hour reconnection fee be raised from $40 to $100 and two employees do the job together.

The board approved a motion to discontinue late-night reconnections entirely.

“If you come to the office and pay your delinquent bill before 4:30 p.m., your service will be reconnected that day with a $10 reconnection fee,” said Pruett. “If your payment is made between 4:30 and 5 p.m., the charge is $40 because crews will have to be overtime to work after hours. If payment is not made by 5 p.m., it will have to wait until the next business day.”

Board member Henry Neftzger said this policy is a good way to keep rates down for the majority of customers who pay their bill on time. Notice of this policy change will be included on utility bills and late notices.