The resounding message we get from our customers is one of need for improved reliability, and yes we have been listening, planning, and acting. As I reported in my September message, improvements to our electric system are well underway and positive results continue. Our City Commissioners strongly support our efforts to make the needed improvements and have approved a multi-year plan of investment in system hardening and reliability improvement.
For the first nine months of 2019 our system’s average frequency of interruptions and duration of interruptions for our entire electric utility service territory has been reduced by 35% and 41% respectively when compared to the same period in 2018, while customers’ average interruptions have decreased 32%, and the average length of interruptions have decreased by 31%. Our team analyzes the causes of outages and uses that information to get ahead of potential future failures, and our results are encouraging. Rest assured that we are keenly focused on our efforts to reduce outages and appreciate the inconvenience you experience when an outage does occur.
Over the past month, our customers have been able to see crews working along Lake Osborne Drive, Detroit Street, Engle Road, and now Lake Worth Road. Older wooden poles are being replaced with stronger concrete poles designed to withstand hurricane force winds. We are also incorporating subtle but effective design changes to minimize outages caused by birds and reptiles that are naturally attracted to our equipment. Similar upgrades and system improvements will be undertaken in all areas of our service territory.
Starting October 24th we launched Paymentus, a new on-line payment system that replaces the previous payment system which had suffered successive data breaches, not only here in Lake Worth Beach but also with other utilities nationwide. Paymentus provides customers with a more secure on-line payment process, one that allows for payments using a credit card or e-Check for both one-time payments or recurring payments using an auto-pay feature, which will help customers ensure payments are never late. Using Paymentus our customers will also be able to make payments by phone or text, as well as retrieve their last 12 months of bill statements. I encourage you to click on the link on our web site and take advantage of an easier and more secure payment process.
As I have reported previously for our cash customers, we’ve rolled out a new payment process for customers who elect to pay their utility bills in cash, this includes all of the items on a customer’s bill such as electric, water, sewer, and garbage pickup. Customers will still be able to pay in cash at City offices until December 31, 2019. However, effective January 1, 2020 we will no longer accept cash payments for utility bills at City offices and customers electing to pay their bills in cash will only be able to do so at nationwide CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, and Family Dollar stores. This change greatly expands the days of the week and hours during which customers can make cash payments from the limited hours that our Customer Service location was able to offer.
To pay with cash going forward please follow these three steps:
- Download your digital barcode by visiting www.paynearme.com/lakeworthbeach
- Show your barcode at any participating retail location and let the cashier know you are making a cash payment towards your City of Lake Worth Beach utility bill
- Keep your receipt. The City of Lake Worth Beach will be notified of your payment within 15 minutes
Our team is committed to continually improving reliability, while keeping rates competitive and your experience positive. Thank you for choosing to be a customer of our electric utility.