JEA to suspend disconnections for 6 weeks

jea bills
The utility disconnects around 16,300 customers a month.

More than 16,300 people each month, on average, lose their utility service because they’re behind on their payments to JEA that’s more than 10,700 prepay customers and more than 5,600 traditional customers over the service area.

After working on the idea for a couple weeks, JEA is providing some temporary help in August.

“We’re focused on giving our customers flexibility and trying to drive down costs as much as we can,” JEA Managing Director and CEO Jay Stowe said.

It’s not wiping the slate clean and the money is still owed, but Duval County’s utility monopoly made some news by suspending disconnections for six weeks beginning Aug. 1, and announcing the intent to no longer charge payment card convenience fees.

The disconnection suspension applies to all customers, across the board. While some utilities waived disconnections earlier because of COVID-19, it has yet to become a trend with rapidly increasing costs this summer.

“The call center has been extremely busy,” JEA Chief Customer Officer Sheila Pressley said. “Our customers are calling because they were taken aback, frankly, by their bill. They need help. So we thought, no better way to do that than to suspend the disconnections just for a period of time to give them some relief.”

Leaders within the utility began to seriously take notice with June’s bills.

“The month of June was the hottest and driest month in recent memory,” Pressley said. 

Duval County received a little more than 2 inches of rain for the month, which was around 3.82 inches fewer than normal, and 1.85 inches fewer than May. Every day in June was 85 degrees or hotter, with 14 days of 90 degrees or hotter and one day of 100 degrees.

“The bills were higher than customers anticipated, and we realized they’re going to need some relief and more time to pay the bills while they’re buying school clothes and school supplies and all those other things that they’re trying to manage,” Pressley said.

She emphasized the need for people who are behind on their JEA bill to work with the company on a payment plan, so that when disconnections restart in mid-September, it’s not a problem and they can pay off that balance over time.

Beginning Oct. 1, JEA is permanently waiving card processing fees when paying bills. More of an inconvenience than a major issue, the fee runs $2.20 and is worth around $3 million annually to the utility.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


One comment

  • Yeah

    August 8, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    On the average I am disconnecting.
    That will be something for meon a average how many businesses rely on electricity

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories