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Summit to Resume Gas Shutoffs in July

2 min read

Summit Utilities, the natural gas company under inquiry by the Arkansas Public Service Commission after thousands of billing complaints, announced Tuesday that it plans to resume normal collections activities in July.

The company, based in Denver, suspended disconnecting customers for nonpayment and charging late fees in November after implementing a new billing and customer experience platform. Summit acquired CenterPoint Energy’s gas infrastructure in Arkansas and Oklahoma in January 2022.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin called for the PSC to investigate billing problems Summit experienced in transitioning CenterPoint customers’ accounts to its own system. Arkansas customers also filed a federal lawsuit but withdrew it to give the PSC a chance to consider their complaints.

In a news release Tuesday, Summit said it was giving customers more than 60 days’ notice about the resumption of collections actions, notifying them through emails, inserts in gas bills and social media. The utility said its customer service teams would be available to set up payment plans for gas service.

“We encourage customers to contact us as soon as possible if they are having difficulty paying their bills so we can work with them to find a solution,” said Fred Kirkwood, Summit’s chief customer officer. “Our customer service representatives can help set up payment arrangements if customers need them or direct customers to payment assistance agencies in their area,” Kirkwood said in the release.

Before any disconnection, Summit said, it will send a disconnect notice in accordance with Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas utility regulations.

Since the new billing and customer experience platforms were introduced last fall, the company has hired more than 50 customer service representatives and is adding more.

Call wait times, the company said, have been steadily dropping and averaged less than two minutes over the past month.

Summit also instituted a new payment assistance resource page online, www.summitcares.com.

This month, it also announced that Arkansans’ gas bills will fall due to a significant decline in the price of wholesale natural gas.

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