JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than 24,000 JEA customers with delinquent utility bills are slated for disconnection starting next month.
The utility had offered a grace period for delinquent accounts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that period ends July 7. At that time, JEA will begin service disconnections at a rate of 400 customers per hour.
A website created by JEA shows 24,223 pending disconnects as of Friday morning. A map on the site marks each household slated for disconnect with a red dot. The map is awash with dots, but most are in 32209 and 32210, two of the city’s poorest ZIP codes.
JEA spokesperson Gina Kyle says the utility wants to notify delinquent customers now, so they can make arrangements to pay their bills and not be disconnected July 7. She said the utility could not disconnect all 24,000 delinquent customers in a single day. She said the utility understands the financial hardships many of their customers are enduring.
Kyle says JEA wants customers to call 904-665-6000 or go to jea.com to set up a payment program or request assistance. She urged customers to “not wait till last minute and risk being cut-off.”
In a fact sheet distributed to city officials, JEA noted the following:
- As of June 3, 22,000 accounts are eligible for disconnection (including 974 business accounts). This represents approximately 5% of JEA accounts. Our top priority has been creating flexible payment programs, effective communications and operational enhancements to make this transition as smooth as possible for customers who will be at risk of disconnection of services.
- • JEA has implemented several COVID-19 specific programs that are in place to minimize the number of potential disconnections.
- • Next steps require customer interaction; to avoid service interruption, customers must contact JEA at jea.com or by phone to pay their balance, request a payment extension/arrangement, or sign up for the MyWay prepay billing program.
- • Disconnections will resume on July 7, 2020 at a rate of approximately 400 per hour between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day until operational disconnects are completed; by staggering disconnects and lowering the volume of which we are capable, we hope to stagger call demand times so customers are able to reach our service center.
- • Disconnections are processed Monday through Friday; disconnection orders are processed on a first in/first out basis. Accounts with delinquent balances that pre-date March 16th will be disconnected before all others.
- • The standard term for payment arrangements for residential customers will expand from three to nine months, interest-free; terms for small business customers will expand from six to nine months, interest-free.
- • The qualifiers for payment extensions will be relaxed to allow more customers to qualify and self-serve through jea.com or our IVR system.
- • Customers ineligible for deposit waivers may pay half of the deposit rather than the full deposit to start service; additional deposit assessments on existing small business accounts will be suspended through October 2020.
- • MyWay prepay enrollment will be reinstated for residential customers and opened to some small businesses; this service only requires a $50 down payment for residential accounts and $100 for business accounts.
- • Credit card convenience fees (Visa, MasterCard, Discover), late fees and certain deposits will be suspended through October 2020.