MORGAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – A complaint about water service being disconnected despite orders against it during the pandemic has led to almost $9,000 in credits to some customers of the Morgan County Water District.
According to Attorney General Daniel Cameron, his department’s Office of Rate Intervention received a complaint Oct. 26 from a utility customer whose service had been disconnected as a result of being unable to make payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ORI’s investigation discovered that Morgan County Water had prematurely disconnected water services for nearly 100 customers. These actions caused consumers to lose water services and subjected them to disconnection and reconnection fees.
In an order released on September 21, 2020, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates public utilities, lifted the moratorium on utility disconnections for customers who had been unable to make payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order requires utility companies to place defaulting residential customers on a monthly fixed payment plan for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years. As a regulated utility, Morgan County Water is required to comply with this order.
“The PSC requires utilities to set up a payment plan for customers with outstanding balances, and many of the state’s utility companies have already issued guidance to help customers navigate the process. I appreciate the work of our investigator Heather Napier to ensure that these Morgan County residents were provided nearly $9,000 in refunds and waivers, and I’m grateful for the Morgan County Water District’s willingness to work with the affected customers,” Cameron said.
As a result of ORI’s mediation with Morgan County Water, the customer who filed the complaint and other impacted customers received a refund or waiver to cover the cost of the previously levied disconnection and reconnection fees, totaling $8,910. Morgan County Water also reconnected all customers to water service.
The PSC issued an order on October 28, 2020, regarding public service utility operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the order, click here.
Kentuckians who have an outstanding balance accrued with a public service utility company between March 16, 2020 and October 1, 2020, should work directly with their utility company to determine next steps and set up a payment plan. In some cases, financial assistance may be available.
To file a utility complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, visit ag.ky.gov/utilitycomplaint.