Iola Gaddis does business last week at the Georgia Power office in Trenton, due to close Oct. 20. After that, customers may pay their electric bills at grocery stores or gas stations around the county, but the closest customer service locations will be Rome and Cartersville.
It’s true: Oct, 20 is closing day for the Georgia Power business office in Trenton. Company spokeswoman Ashley Stukes in Atlanta confirmed on Monday that the Chickamauga office will also be closing.
Of the 27 customer service locations the utility giant plans to continue maintaining across Georgia, the closest to Trenton will be the Cartersville and Rome offices, said Ms. Stukes.
The good news is that Dade customers who wish to pay their electric bills in person will be able to do so at a number of locations in the vicinity: Ingle’s Market and Food City in Trenton; the Pilot Travel Centers in Rising Fawn and Wildwood; the American Trust Cash Advance Store on Cummings Highway in Chattanooga; and the Wal-Mart stores in Lookout Valley and Kimball.
Georgia Power says it is making the move to provide the best service at the lowest cost to customers whose needs have changed radically in recent years. “Over the past decade, payment transactions have shifted from traditional business offices and mail to electronic payments (online, mobile and auto-draft), which currently account for more than 50 percent of all payments,” Ms. Stukes noted in an email.
Those modern payments methods are presumably more cost-effective for the company, and after October consumers will find that applies to them, too: To pay at any of the “APLs” (authorized payment locations), a “convenience fee” of $1.50 will apply. Ms. Stukes pointed out, however, that it will still be free to pay online, with a check or through a mobile app.
Local people who go to the office once a month to pay their bills may find the coming change inconvenient, but what of local people who go there every day to make a living? Ms. Stukes said her company would not provide a breakdown of how many employees worked at the Trenton office, or any other doomed to closure, but she was able to provide the overall numbers:
Of Georgia Power’s 8000 employees, 270 statewide will “be affected” – i.e., lose their jobs – but Ms. Stukes said the company will make every effort to absorb them in other positions. “They will definitely have the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company,” she said.
As to the physical building on Cedar Lane, Ms. Stukes said that it is a “headquarters” office that will remain in place, with trucks, equipment and utility workers dispatched out of it as needed, such as during weather events requiring repair work.
Ms. Stukes did not know on Monday whether Dade consumers will have to travel physically to the Rome or Cartersville offices after October to get electric service turned on or off, but promised to get back with The Planet when she learned. The Planet in turn promises to provide that information when it becomes available.