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Greenville Council Tables GEUS Assistance Program

The RoundUP Program is designed to assist customers who are struggling financially.
Brad Kellar
/
The RoundUP Program is designed to assist customers who are struggling financially.

A proposed system for helping Greenville residents with utility bills has been tabled by the Greenville City Council, in response to concerns about the sign-up process and other matters.

The tabling of the RoundUP program for GEUS (Greenville Electric Utility System) occurred at the Sept. 24 council meeting, the Herald-Banner reported.

If the RoundUP program is approved, then upon implementation, Greenville residents will have up to 30 days to opt out of the program. If they don’t, each month their utility bills will be rounded up to the nearest dollar (thus the name RoundUP), and the extra funds will be used to assist customers struggling to make payments on their utility bills.

So, if the program is implemented and a customer who didn’t opt out of the program had a bill of $197.04, they would instead pay $198, and the extra 96 cents would go towards the RoundUP program to be used by a struggling customer.

GEUS has projected that if 15,000 households were to pay an average of 50 cents per month to the RoundUP program, it would come out to $7,500 per month (city-wide), or $90,000 per year, in funds to assist those customer who need help paying for utilities, according to the Herald-Banner.

During the meeting, Mayor David Dreiling expressed concern that even though the proposed program was considered voluntary, it forced customers to opt out of it instead of allowing them to choose to sign up for it.

Some of the Greenville residents in attendance also took issue with the program, the Herald-Banner reported.

James Evans asked the council how they could consider voting on something like the RoundUP program as a way to “help people” if they weren’t also going to vote on the proposed property tax freeze for senior citizens.

Similarly, Dwayne May commented that if the city were to allow GEUS to start up the RoundUP program, then there would be nothing to stop other companies like “Atmos, Spectrum, and AT&T” from requesting permission to start their own versions of the RoundUP program.

After the discussions, the city council went into a brief executive session in order to ask about the legalities of the issue. When the council members finished their executive session, they voted to table the decision on the proposed RoundUP program for a future meeting.

The next meeting of the Greenville City Council is scheduled for Oct. 8.

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