Me and that crystal ball.
Heating bill delinquencies jump
Utilities, facing record numbers of past-due accounts, have begun disconnecting service for thousands of Minnesota customers.
By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune
Last update: June 13, 2007 – 9:50 PM
In what may be another troubling sign for the state's economy, record numbers of Minnesotans are delinquent in paying their natural gas bills.
CenterPoint Energy, the state's largest provider of natural gas, reports that about a third of its customers -- about 208,000 businesses and households -- owe money after the heating season.
More than half of the delinquent customers are at least two months behind on their payments, and owe an average of $1,500, according to CenterPoint.
Thousands have already had their natural gas cut off, which could affect water heaters, stoves and driers, besides, of course, furnaces. More disconnections will follow unless customers find a way to start making payments.
"I spoke with a 20-year veteran of the credit and collections department, and she's never seen anything in her experience that comes close to the delinquency figure we have today," said Rolf Lund, a spokesman with CenterPoint.
Two years or so ago, when I first started writing on the intertubes, I wrote about the horrendous situation with heating bills in Indiana here and here. This is a silent crisis that is only going to get worse. And not just in Minnesota.