CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There has been a 35-percent increase in residents with delinquent utility bills calling the City of Corpus Christi now that the official grace period for nonpayment has expired.

As of last week, the City was looking at almost $7 million in overdue utility bills from almost 12,000 delinquent accounts, and now that number is a little less. Prior to the holiday, the City contacted more than 14,000 residential and business utility customers to arrange payment plans to avoid disconnections and penalties.

Disconnect notices started going out with bills this week, and the City said if you are behind it is still not too late to avoid losing your utilities and paying some fines.

Corpus Christi Chief Information Officer Peter Collins said they were able to collect almost $1 million from calling all those with outstanding bills.

"We're a little bit over 14,000 in residential accounts. We're down to a little bit over 11,000 that are delinquent," Collins said. "We still have about $6.2 million that's out there to be collected."

Collins said that does not include commercial accounts who they are also reaching out to.

The grace period was announced last October when the City learned that its billing software was not working correctly, but it was fixed earlier this summer.

There are penalties if you get a disconnect notice. You will have to pay five-percent of what you owe as a penalty and at least 50-percent of that entire bill. There will also be a $50 disconnect fee.

The City wants to remind everyone that it is not too late to avoid a disconnect notice. If you haven't recieved one already, you can call the City to make payment arrangements without any penalty.

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