The number of local utility customers interested in Equal Payment Plan (EPP) billing, fell short of the number needed to make the concept economically feasible Minden Mayor Tommy Davis said Monday.
Of the 6,500 to 7,000 utility customers for the City of Minden, 1,422 responded to the survey, asking if they are interested in a form of levelized billing for all their city utilities.
"Every one got a survey if they had a meter – water, electric or both," Davis said. "We made them available at city hall and in the newspaper. We tried to make them available to everybody."
Once the survey results were in, Davis said he talked with each council member and they were in agreement.
"We all came to the conclusion that it's not cost effective to do it for the citizens," he said.
For various reasons, not all surveys were eligible to be counted.
"We were able to count 1,326," Davis said. "Of those, 840 indicated they would be interested in EPP and 846 said they would not be interested."
Davis said he feels the number who are not interested may actually be higher than 846.
"Nearly everybody who was interested, would respond to a survey," he said. "But not everybody who was disinterested would go to the trouble. So, if you look at it that way, the vast majority of
people were not interested in having their bills averaged."
In order to make the program work financially, Davis said more than 50 percent of utility customers would have to be willing to make the change.
Of the 840 who said they would sign up for levelized billing, some would be culled in the process of setting it up, the mayor said. Most programs require 12 months of billing history at the current
address, and their account must be current, with no past due balances. In order to stay on the plan, payment must be received by the due date each month.
"That would probably take that 840 number down even more," Davis said. "Even if everybody qualified, within a matter of two or three months, you would drop a big percentage of those people."
Davis said the changes needed to be implemented in billing would make it unfeasible to establish EPP.
"It would mean two separate mailings for each type of billing, we would have to send two sets of information to the company that sends out the bills and so our expenses would go up," he said. "If
we wanted to write a new computer program so we could do it all on one billing, that would be anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000."