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PSC: Take steps to protect poor and elderly

MARY B. POTTER
ATTORNEY AT LAW
113 N. WASHINGTON STREET
CLINTON, KY 42031
1-270-653-3312
Marybpotter@bellsouth.net

May 9, 2011

Kentucky Public Service Commission
211 Sower Blvd.
Frankfort KY 40601

 Re: Application of Water Service Corporation of Kentucky
  Case No. 2010 - 00476

To the Commission –

Please find enclosed the last two months of water bills received by my office and by Kountry Café, the business next door to mine. The most recent bill was received May 9, 2011.

Please note several items:

First, both Kountry Café and this office have a balance due from the previous billing. Note that the balance due date is May 1, 2011. That happens to be a Sunday.

Second, please note that the prior month’s bill was due Monday, May 2, 2011. Kountry Café paid their bill at City Hall in Clinton on Friday, April 29th. The bill from this office was mailed on April 29th.

Third, on Kountry Café’s bill due on May 2nd, the meter reading states that the business used 688 gallons of water PER DAY for eight days. Kountry Café has two restrooms and a kitchen. If they were using 688 gallons of water a day for a total usage of 5504 gallons, water would be flowing into the street.

On this office’s bill for the same period, this office is listed as using 44 gallons of water per day for nine days. That’s a total usage of 396 gallons of water. This office has only one bathroom with one sink and one commode. This office is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fourth, note the due date for the May billing is May 26, 2011. That is one full week before the usual billing date of June 2nd. It will put water users having water bills due twice in the same month.

It is my understanding that Utilities, Inc. aka Water Service Corp. of Kentucky, bases its latest rate increase request on the necessity of sharing the cost of the billing and management system with customers. 

It is my contention that the billing system is defective. The Company knows or should know it is defective. Customers in Clinton and Middlesboro should not have to bear the expense of a defective product. If they did not know, then the management system is also defective.

I urge the Public Service Commission to deny the requested increase. It is as faulty as the billing system that alleges that payments have not been received on a Sunday, the day before the payments were actually due.  It is as faulty as management that sends out water bills due every three weeks.

I also urge the Public Service Commission and the Kentucky Attorney General to take proactive steps to protect those who cannot pay their bill by the due date.

The poor, elderly and those living on one check each month are in danger of having their water service interrupted by the company’s stated policy of turning off customers whose bills are late. This policy is not uniformly enforced-which is a benefit to some customers whose payments arrive after the date of the billing.

Others are not so fortunate. When their service is disconnected, they are forced to pay an additional reconnect fee. If the resident cannot pay two bills in one month, they will be further burdened by this fee.

Receiving two bills in one month is an error that annoys this writer, but can be the difference of having an essential service in one’s home and not having it.

It is within this Commission’s power to protect the public from this careless, predatory utility company.

      Sincerely,

 

      Mary B. Potter

cc.  Utilities, Inc.
      KY Attorney General
      Hickman Co. Times
      Hickman Co. Gazette
      West KY Journal
      City of Clinton
      Kountry Café
      file    


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