Oakdale asks Wallingford to waive late charges on electric bills

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WALLINGFORD — The Toyota Oakdale Theatre has appealed to the Public Utilities Commission to waive about $1,000 in late fees on its electric bill.

The live entertainment venue at 95 S. Turnpike Road, which is owned by Live Nation, has been closed since March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission was slated to discuss the request at its Dec. 15 meeting, but tabled the discussion since no one was present to speak on behalf of the Oakdale.

The commission is scheduled to take up the matter again Tuesday during its remote meeting.

Michael Andrews, Live Nation’s regional manager in Connecticut, said Monday that he was overseeing the Magic of Lights holiday show at the Oakdale and couldn’t attend the December meeting, but is planning to attend the meeting Tuesday.

Andrews made the request to waive $1,100 in outstanding late fees through a letter to the commission in October, saying that the Oakdale’s corporate owner is “hemorrhaging money each month.”

The company has either furloughed or laid off thousands of employees — a reduction of 18,700 to 700 employees, or 96.25 percent of its workforce — including the finance team that approves payment for bills, Andrews said in the letter.

“It has been a struggle to get bills approved as the (chain) of command has changed,” he said, “and when I do it falls a few days past our due date which causes us to incur hundreds of dollars sometimes thousands” in late fees.

Payments made

Andrews said Monday that the Oakdale has not incurred any further late fees since October, even with the Magic of Lights show increasing the electricity bill 10 percent to 15 percent.

Despite being closed, the Oakdale runs up an electric bill of more than $12,000 each month.

According to a three-year account history for the Oakdale created Oct. 30 by Electric Division staff, the Oakdale usually had roughly three weeks to pay its electric bill.

In April 2020, the Electric Division extended the Oakdale’s bill payment due date.

Bills charged in May, June, July and August came due Sept. 23, 2020, after which the extension apparently expired. A bill on Sept. 30, 2020, was due Oct. 22, 2020.

“We have never taken advantage of the extended months to repay our invoices in which (you) offered to all these past months,” Andrews said in the October letter to the commission. “We made our monthly payment.”

Andrews referenced the company’s customer history with the Electric Division and payment of past late fees without disputing them.

“In the past years,” he said in the letter, “in which we have been late a few times due to mishandling of invoices and incurred a few thousand dollars in late fees, we have not asked for forgiveness though only a few days late, not months or weeks.”

The venue incurred late charges three times between January 2018 and December 2019, between about $850 and $1,050 each time.

LTakores@record-journal.com203-317-2212Twitter: @LCTakores


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