A Community Website by Lopez Island
Delayed Opalco Statements (Electrical and Communication Services)
San Juan Islands
April 12, 2019
Posted by Prem Prem, Lopez Island

Rather than printing and mailing the mid-month Opalco statements for Lopez locally, Opalco has outsourced that obligation to Opalco's agent located in St. Charles County, Missouri. If this outsourcing were to save the co-op money and if Opalco's obligations were being performed competently, that would be great. However, for unidentified reasons, Opalco's system is not working competently.

Opalco advises that the usage and the other statement information is being transmitted to its Missouri agent electronically on the 15th of each month. The agent then prints and organizes the statements as "presorted first-class mail" and supposedly gets them "out the door by noon the next day". Opalco may not know whether this is actually happening nor whether the pre-sort organizing and labeling in being done competently.

The actual results are that Opalco's Missouri agent is routinely achieving very slow delivery of the statements. On two Opalco accounts which we run, the 1/15 statements were delivered on 1/28, the 2/15 statements were delivered on 2/26, and the 3/15 statements were delivered on 4/06. Those three statement delays are respectively 13 days, 11 days, and 22 days. Opalco has effectively eaten up most or all of the already short 20-day period between the statement date and the late-payment date.

It seems unlikely that these delays are postal-system problems. In distinct contrast, on March 27 when Opalco requested its agent to create two "disconnect" letters, their Missouri agent promptly printed, presorted, and mailed them. Subsequently, the postal system had them delivered here on Lopez on March 30, just three days after Opalco had initiated these letters.

With respect to the monthly-statement delays, Opalco has suggested that they may be occurring at the Lopez Post Office or elsewhere in the postal system. However, it is time for Opalco to stop playing the "blame-game". It's time for Opalco to responsibly take ownership of this statement problem and get it fixed. Why aren't these statements available for viewing or downloading at Opalco's secure website?


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Tracy Collins: Delayed Opalco Statements

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HEAR HEAR TO Ann Palmer FOR ADDING A BIT OF REALISM TO THIS CONVERSATION. I UNDERSTAND THAT ALL COMPANIES WOULD LIKE ALL OF US TO PAY ALL OF OUR BILLS ONLINE, PROBABLY PREFERABLY A YEAR AHEAD OF TIME. BUT INDEED MANY OF US ON LOPEZ NOT ONLY DO NOT HAVE.... Read all
Tracy Collins: Delayed Opalco Statements

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HEAR HEAR TO Ann Palmer FOR ADDING A BIT OF REALISM TO THIS CONVERSATION. I UNDERSTAND THAT ALL COMPANIES WOULD LIKE ALL OF US TO PAY ALL OF OUR BILLS ONLINE, PROBABLY PREFERABLY A YEAR AHEAD OF TIME. BUT INDEED MANY OF US ON LOPEZ NOT ONLY DO NOT HAVE.... Read all
Tracy Collins: Delayed Opalco Statements

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HEAR HEAR TO Ann Palmer FOR ADDING A BIT OF REALISM TO THIS CONVERSATION. I UNDERSTAND THAT ALL COMPANIES WOULD LIKE ALL OF US TO PAY ALL OF OUR BILLS ONLINE, PROBABLY PREFERABLY A YEAR AHEAD OF TIME. BUT INDEED MANY OF US ON LOPEZ NOT ONLY DO NOT HAVE.... Read all
Ann Palmer: Delayed Opalco Statements

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I personally get my bills online, but MANY people here on Lopez do not, and do not have or use computer access. Paper is all they use. Opalco is responsible for getting the bills out on time and absolutely SHOULD NOT charge ANY late fees for people who.... Read all
Jay Kimball: Delayed Opalco Statements

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And you can go paperless. Get the bill in email. And have the added benefit of SmartHub to view your usage to help use energy more efficiently.

I have three accounts, all paperless now. Simple. Fast.
Krista Bouchey: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Krista from OPALCO here. This is indeed a frustrating problem. The local USPS was great in helping us get the word out to OPALCO members last month when the bills were late (this problem affected two zip codes in the county). It was an issue with the.... Read all
Nancy Wallace: Delayed Opalco Statements

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And how does carrying monthly statements from Missouri to Lopez Island via energy consuming vehicles fit with Opalco's marketing ideas of being "green" and "reducing energy consumption"?
Prem Prem: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Danny S,

Thanks for the research on Opalco's obligations under the state's regulations (WAC 480-100-178). The regulations which you have quoted require that there be a "minimum time allowed for payment after the bill's.... Read all
Prem Prem: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Carol D,

Years ago Opalco issued statements county-wide at the end of every month. Several years ago they put Lopez and probably some other areas onto a mid-month statement-cycle. I suspect that all Opalco statements are being prepared and.... Read all
Danny Stratton: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Carol, thank you for pointing out the statement availability on the opalco web site. That is not sufficient.
It is the responsibility of the utility to submit an invoice. This has been the case for every utility or service that I have had and is also.... Read all
Carol Deckelbaum: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Thank you Prem. Is the delay in delivery of statements a Lopez only problem? What about the other islands?

By the way, the statements are available on Opalco's website, in the billing history.

Thanks,
Carol
Ruby Layne Hampton: Delayed Opalco Statements

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Thank you, Prem