City Council approves utility budget plan

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Come May 1, Franklin utility customers will have the opportunity to apply for the city’s new budget plan, which will allow them to pay equal amounts for their utilities each month based on their average usage during the previous year.

Franklin’s City Council approved the expanded utility budget plan in late October. Previously, the city’s utility budget plan had been restricted to electricity only, and had been limited to residential homeowners. The new plan includes water and sewer payments, and is available to any homeowner, renter or small-business owner in or outside the city limits whose utilities are provided by the City of Franklin.

Interim City Manager Clarence Monday said he knew of only around five businesses connected to the city’s electric grid that would be considered too large to be eligible for the budget plan. The rest would be classified as “small general services” or SGS for electric billing purposes.

To be eligible for the plan, a utility customer must have been on the applicable city service (electric, water, sewer) for at least one year at his or her current location, and must be paid current with no cut-offs and no more than two penalty notices within the past 12 months. Electric customers must also agree to have a “Cycle ‘N’ Save” switch installed on their water heater if they have not already done so. This switch, which the city will install at no charge, identifies the times of day when hot water usage peaks, and cuts off hot water when it is most likely not to be needed, in order to save the customer money.

Electronic billing, while available to those who desire it, is not a requirement for getting on the plan.

At the end of each year, those on the budget plan will be assessed a true-up payment or credit to reflect actual usage throughout the year.

Franklin Power and Light Director Mark Bly explained that the reason the city is waiting until May 1 for open enrollment is to give billing staff time to make sure the city’s billing system is up to the task of offering the budget program.