Gas Company Abandons Plan To Report Delinquent Customers To Credit Agencies

Last fall, CenterPoint Energy—Minnesota’s largest natural gas supplier—announced it was considering reporting the payment histories of its customers to credit reporting agencies in an effort to reduce delinquencies. Advocates said this was a stupid idea, because the people who can’t pay their gas bills are too poor to pay their gas bills, and derogatory credit only makes life worse for them. Now they’ve said they won’t (at least for now). Good.

The Houston-based company, Minnesota’s largest natural-gas utility, told the Star Tribune that it still considers credit reporting one of several appropriate ways to collect past-due payments. It also considers those collections crucial for keeping rates down for all customers.

But it has chosen not to begin such a program because “we feel it is important to focus our attention on exploring alternatives,” the company said in a prepared statement.

(Thanks to Kris!)

“CenterPoint’s credit-reporting plan is dropped” [Star Tribune]

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“Centerpoint suspends program to report deliquent customers” [MPR]