|Smilin’ Jack Conway is roaring that he has raised well over a million dollars for his Senate campaign. Guess what Smilin’ Jack hasn’t been doin’?
His office has done nothing to defend the citizens of the Commonwealth who rely on him to protect them from predator utility companies. The PSC entered an Order on Monday in the Water Services, Inc. request for a 51% increase case that stated that since the AG hadn’t filed anything, the case was on track to be heard in August without any evidence presented by the Attorney General.
Good goin’, Jack. Maybe you’ll work a little harder in your next job.
Water Service, Inc. customers, 9000 in Middlesboro and 900 in Clinton suffered a defeat Monday when the Kentucky Attorney General failed to file any testimony in the Water Service’s Inc.’s request for a 51% rate increase. Since Attorney General Conway was the only intervenor allowed in the case and he failed to present any evidence on behalf of rate payers, his role becomes one of rebutting the statements made by the Water Company.
Readers will recall that I, a Clinton resident, and several Middlesboro residents requested to be allowed to intervene in order to participate in the proceedings. The Kentucky Public Service Commission, denied everybody, saying the applicants did not have a special interest in the proceeding. Further, their intervention would not be likely to develop facts or issues that the Attorney General could not access. And, a telling point - their intervention would unduly complicate the proceedings. (see PSC denies citizen intervention)
In May, I asked Attorney General Jack Conway whether his office would have the resources to fight the rate increase case. Conway was in Paducah campaigning to be the Democratic nominee in the race against Senator Jim Bunning.
Q: We all know that state government is out of money. Will the Attorney General have the money to hire an expert to refute Utilities Inc.'s experts?
Conway: “Yes. I have a budget that is not all I need it to be. I need more money to hire expert witnesses. I am beating down on the expert witnesses for them to charge us lower rates. I am trying to stretch our dollars as far as they can go.
We’ve taken about a 20% budget cut since I took office as Attorney General, but I’ve still managed to handle the case load. We used to have thirteen personnel in the Office of Rate Intervention. Now we’re down to five. But we will do our job.” Conway: we will do our job
Obviously, Conway’s office did not find the money for expert testimony. When we called today and asked, we were told by an attorney in Conway’s office that they just didn’t have the money for an expert. They put out bid requests that came in too high.
His office did not contact customers in this area to solicit testimony related to the billing issues that continue to plague water rate users. The Attorney General has filed nothing in the rate increase case since March 17, 2009 when he objected to a request that the water company’s responses be kept confidential. Questions to Water Services, Inc. have come from the PSC.
Hundreds of Clinton residents wrote to the PSC with two requests: that the rate increase be denied and that the public hearing, scheduled for August 19th be held in Clinton. The first request will be decided after August 19th. The second remains up in the air because, although the “informal conference” is set for the PSC’s office in Frankfort, no site is published for the public hearing. Residents remain hopeful that the PSC will come to Clinton to hear their issues with the water company.
We should know in the next week whether the PSC will come to Clinton in mid-August for a public meeting.
In the meantime, it is hoped that Mr. Conway has a moment to spare to do the job of ATTORNEY GENERAL Conway.