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Plan lets customers pick payment date

Jennifer Sprouse • Jun 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Wouldn’t it be convenient to have your bills due when you have the money to pay them?

The Johnson City Power Board, in its own effort to make bill payment easier for customers, has set up the Flexible Due Date program, which will essentially allow customers the chance to pick when their utility bill is due.

Robert Lynn White, the PowerBoard’s chief public relations officer, said the utility has been wanting to integrate a program like this one for quite some time.

“Over the years this has been a request that we have received and ... we have since changed to a different customer information system software that now allows us that flexibility,” he said. “We’ve always wanted to offer this, but we just were never able to.”

The program is set up as an automatic bank draft from a customer’s checking or savings account on a date of the customer’s choosing. Customers paying by cash, check or recurring credit card will not have the option of picking their payment date, unless they change to have it set up through bank draft.

White said the amount of requests over the years has it a priority to get the program up and running. While the plan can make it easier for all customers, he sees it having a positive impact on those with a fixed income who can now schedule their payment after they get paid or when their disability or Social Security checks come in.

“They want to be able to pay their bills easily, pay them when they want to pay them and pay them promptly,” White said.

He said that besides the automatic bank draft requirement, customers must be sitting at a zero balance in their Power Board account to qualify.

The link for the Flexible Due Date was added to the Power Board’s website Thursday and customers interested in setting up the bank draft method can now visit www.jcpb.com to download a form to be either mailed or faxed in. For those wishing to draft out of their savings account, they must also provide a deposit slip, and those drafting out of a checking account must submit a voided check.

White said the company has been working to get the kinks out of the system and feels as though they are prepared to open the program up for public use.

“I was one of the guinea pigs and we have several employees here at the Johnson City Power Board who are signed up, and we’re ready to roll out this great product that we think the people will be happy to have,” he said. “This is just another step in that process of making sure that we continue to provide wonderful electrical services to our customers.”

In the last couple of years, the Power Board has installed new advanced utility meters at customers homes, which has led to a new program it hopes to implement this fall. White said the program will allow customers to see their total energy usage at any point in time, instead of just when they receive their monthly bill.

“These (programs) are just step-by-step pieces ... showing that we’re keeping up with the technology and what their (customers) demands are,” he said. “We pride ourselves in being ahead of the curve and so we’re excited to roll this out.”

In addition to the website, customers can also call 282-5272 to sign-up or get more information on the new plan.

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