SPRINGFIELD, MO. — City Utilities in Springfield has increased the number of utility shutoffs by 40 percent in the last year.
But officials of the utility company said the changing policies have also reduced the number of overdue accounts, reducing costs for other customers.
Utility records show that from March 2008 to April 2009, stricter policies initiated after a state audit caused 9,198 utility shutoffs, a 40 percent increase from the same period a year before.
Utility spokesman Joel Alexander said the company doesn't want to disconnect anyone, but it also has to pass the cost of unpaid bills on to other customers. Last year, the utility was unable to collect $1.36 million.
City Utilities serves 108,000 electric customers, 80,000 natural gas customers and 80,000 water customers.