Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Utility Business Office's new billing system

1. What’s changing with the new system?
All customers will be getting new account numbers.  The new number will be reflected on your first invoice after conversion.
The format of your bill will be a statement invoice delivered in an envelope instead of a postcard.
The City of Oak Ridge will no longer be sending separately mailed disconnect notices.  All disconnect notices will be included on your monthly statement following the month in arrears.
Most due dates will change. The due date will also be reflected on the first invoice. For those who are already signed up for automatic bank draft, your account will be drafted on the new due date. You must have a $0.00 balance to sign up for autopay.
If you pay your bill online, that format will also look different. 
Late fees will be charged after 5 p.m. Eastern on the date your bill is due.

2. Can I make payments by phone?
Yes, IVR or Integrated Voice Response will be available 24/7, free of charge.
You will be required to have your account number when accessing the IVR.  The IVR number will be provided on the back of your monthly utility invoice.

3. Can I still pay online?

Yes, however the format will look different and you will have to re-establish your account with your new account number and a password.
With the new system, you will be able to set up a credit card or debit card for reoccurring payments (up to $1,000).

4. Will the name on my account change?  
No, the account will be assigned to a primary account holder or the first person listed on the account.  The primary person can open and close the account.  The primary account holder is also the only person who can get a refund check.  If you want to change the primary person, both parties should contact the Utility Business Office at 865-425-3400 by August 31, 2020.

5. Do you still offer payment arrangements?
Yes, should a crisis prevent you from paying your bill all at once, in addition to the standard agreement we have offered in the past, we have also added a short-term option.  Some restrictions apply.  Contact a customer service representative at the Utility Business Office (865-425-3400) for assistance in setting this up.

6. What is CSS?
Customer Self Service

7. What can I do through the CSS (Customer Self Service)?
Set a new auto draft or edit an existing auto draft (up to $1,000)
Set up reoccurring payments with a credit card or debit card (up to $1,000); you must have a $0.00 balance to set up autopay
Submit a request for new service
Request termination of service
Sign up for paperless billing
Sign up for the round up program, where your bill is rounded to the nearest dollar.  Funds will go toward Project SAFE
Make one time or reoccurring donations to Project SAFE
You can update your personal information.  For example, phone number, email address, etc.
You can view account detail and account history

8. What is Project SAFE?
Project SAFE is a 501c3 partnership with Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties (ADFAC) to assist those in need with their utility bills.  Proceeds go to those in need in our community.

9. How will the Budget Billing Program change?
Previously, those on budget billing had a set payment amount based on an average consumption for the prior year.
The new Balanced/Levelized Billing program will re-calculate your payment each month using a rolling 12-month average (the payment amount will vary slightly each month).

10. If I was previously Budget Billing, will I automatically be re-enrolled?
No, you will need to call the Utility Business Office at 865-425-3400 to enroll in the new program.

Have a question we didn't answer? Call the Utility Business Office at (865) 425-3400.

The Latest From Kelly Kilowatt

The implementation of the new software at the billing office is progressing. Customers report liking the new statements, the online portal, and the wide range of automatic payment options. A few issues remain, but we are closing in on normal operations.

Telephone lines at the office remain extremely congested, making it very difficult at times for customers to reach the office by phone due to high calling volumes. We hope to be back to normal within the next few weeks. In the meantime, the automated payment system is still available 24/7, free of charge. You will be required to have your account number to pay through the automated payment system. The automated phone number is (833) 268-4341 and can also be found on the back of your monthly utility invoice.

The City realizes that some customers have fallen behind due to difficult circumstances. Should you need assistance, please come by our office and we’ll be happy to explore available options to work through these difficult times. 

The hot weather in July resulted in higher electric cooling bills leading some to believe that power costs have gone up. In reality, the cost of power on a unit basis between July 2019 and July 2020 went down about 3%. Rates went down more in August.

The latest from Kelly Kilowatt