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Residents may experience longer wait to reconnect utilities during first cold snap of the season

Gas Meter
Posted at 7:19 AM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 07:19:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — This week marks the coldest temperatures central Indiana has seen since last winter.

For Tim Snyder, a common slip-up many people have been guilty of left him and his family without heat in their home to face these freezing temps.

"Today was a complete surprise. My wife called me and said, 'Hey, did you pay the water and gas bill?' I said, 'Yes, it's on auto-pay.' and she said, 'Well it's all turned off,'" Snyder said.

After calling Citizens Energy, Snyder realized the autopay he thought he set up over the summer was not working.

"Turns out it's not coming out. I missed the last two months of my bill," he said.

Knowing the cold weather was supposed to set in, Snyder wanted to get his account back in good standing as quickly as possible.

"I paid a deposit (and) a reconnection fee. I paid off my entire bill and then I was like, 'Alright, when are you going to be out?' and they said, 'Tomorrow and we don't know what time,'" Snyder said.

RELATED | Winter Disconnection Moratorium FAQ

Despite paying $550, Snyder realized he would be without heat in his home and started making plans to stay elsewhere with his wife and kids.

A Citizens Energy spokesperson tells WRTV this is a situation that plays out a lot around this time of the year. Many people willingly choose to have their gas disconnected in the warmer months.

However, once the first sign of winter comes, a flurry of calls comes in from those same people who want it reconnected as soon as possible.

The fact that Snyder could have gas and water restored just a day after it was disconnected is surprising because their employees can only get to so many houses during their workdays, according to a spokesperson.

Snyder says it's a hard lesson to learn, but one he wants to share, hoping others don't end up in a similar situation.

"Part of this is my fault. I should have been checking my bill, but I wish they would have communicated something with me," Snyder said.

He's updating all his preferences and information to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Under Indiana law, utility disconnections cannot happen between December 1 and March 15 if customers are receiving help from federally-funded energy assistance programs.