SaskEnergy president clarifies Equalized Payment Plan details
To the editor: Re: January 30, 2014 online Letter to the Editor - SaskEnergy’s Equalized Payment Plan
I am writing in response to the January 30, 2014 Letter to the Editor concerning SaskEnergy’s Customer Billing System and changes to the Equalized Payment Plan (EPP). SaskEnergy replaced its Customer Billing System in 2013, as we wanted to better serve our growing customer base with more efficient and accurate billing.
Our previous system had served us well, but was designed in the 1970s and implemented in the 1980s. It was no longer able to meet the variety of billing and accounts services our customers require.
In August 2013, SaskEnergy’s new Customer Billing System came into effect. We notified customers of the new system through messages on their bills, an insert into billing envelopes, as well as information on-line at www.saskenergy.com and notices placed on our toll-free customer information phone line, at 1-800567-8899.
As your reader noted in their January 30th letter, these changes also included an update to the Equalized Payment Plan (EPP). Customers continually tell us they want to be able to accurately budget their en- ergy dollars. Previously, EPP customers would receive a credit or debt notice on their one-year anniversary of signing up with the program. This amount would appear on the next month’s bill. While some customers appreciated the extra credit that next month, others who were in a debt situation found the additional costs more difficult to manage.
Under the new system, the credit or debt amount is spread evenly over the next 12 months. This has been an adjustment for some customers but most who contact SaskEnergy are pleased to be able to apply a credit over an entire year, or have 12 months with which to pay a debt incurred.
This has been especially helpful to many customers with the extreme cold we’ve all faced in Saskatchewan this winter. Under the previous EPP system, many customers would have faced a significant debt on their one-year “settle-up” date – instead, that amount is now spread evenly over 12 payments.
EPP is growing in popularity, with 46 per cent of SaskEnergy’s customers now participating. We hope these improvements will encourage more of our customers to participate in EPP.