The head of Springfield's city-owned water and electric utility wouldn't describe the state as being too far behind on its electrical bills -- yet -- despite the ongoing state budget impasse.

City Water, Light, and Power Chief Utilities Engineer Doug Brown says the power bill on Capitol Complex buildings under control of the Secretary of State is currently at $2.7 million; but on average, the state owes only $1.7 million per month.  Brown says, though, he's used to the state paying late.

"They usually pay 60 days behind anyway; that's just a typical process for the State that we worked out many, many years ago," says Brown.  "They're not that far behind overall, but it will start building."

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Brown says the utility -- despite the continued concerns over its own bond rating and debt coverage -- can weather the stalemate for at least a few months.

"In order to protect the utility, we do issue disconnect notices for all regular accounts period," says Brown.  "It's just an automatic thing that happens.  The state does receive those, but we do treat the state differently than other customers.  The simple fact, really, is the state's not going anywhere," compared to a regular customer, he says, who may run up a huge bill, see their power get turned off, and skip town.
(Copyright WBGZ / )