/Presley PSC will investigate Clarksdale utility bills once residents file complaints

Presley PSC will investigate Clarksdale utility bills once residents file complaints

Officials cited the unusually hot weather as the reason why bills were so high. Unsatisfied and feeling ignored, residents created the Concerned Citizens of Clarksdale, which hosted community-based meetings at local churches and the auditorium of the city to discuss next steps. Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy attended all of the meetings and promised to provide answers. Espy asked for a Mississippi Public Service Commission representative to hold a hearing and listen to ratepayers to offer advice on possible solutions. Residents in Delta are furious about high utility bills and question the possibility of rate increases. On Oct. 30, Brandon Presley, the Northern District Public Service Commissioner, met with citizens to discuss their concerns regarding their utility bills. Presley wanted to first inform the 50 attendees about what PSC jurisdiction would allow them to do. Presley stated that Clarksdale Public Utilities, a municipally owned utility company, does not have the full regulatory authority over CPU. Presley suggested that everyone file a complaint to dispute $2,500 utility bills before anyone made a complaint. “If you have a complaint with Clarksdale Public Utilities or any municipally-owned utility, the amount of that dispute is $2,500. Our code section states that anyone who files a request with us can investigate those charges.” After Presley explained, many members of the public raised concerns about Presley’s explanations. These included lack of transparency between the CPU board and the five members, unfair billing cycles, the implementation of smart meters, the fuel adjustment rate not being displayed on the bill, rude customer service representatives, and lack of the bill. It is unimaginable that this city entity has placed such a burden on us. Ora Shaw, a long-time resident, said that it doesn’t have anything to do the supply, the amount we pay, the rate or any other small things you throw. She said that the “system” is what keeps poor people poor. Curtis Boschert was the new general manager of CPU. He assured ratepayers that he would do everything possible to assist them in the best way. He stated that the utility company’s top priorities were to add fuel adjustment rates to the bill and find ways of reducing rates. Boschert said, “I asked if you would give me some time, not years, but we want something in place before the first of each year so that you can see the results.” “I am concerned about the bills that you have. Commissioners are concerned about the bills you have. We are working together.” To help guests file complaints, forms were distributed. “We will be transparent, open, and honest. Presley stated that whatever the facts may be, those are the facts. “It might be some things that you like, or it may not, but the facts are what they are.” Boschert stated that the CPU may work with Presley in order to solve problems. Espy said that Presley’s administration would also work with them. Espy stated that Brandon Presley has a team of lawyers who are available to help Clarksdale citizens at any time. “When we can’t get fair and honest representation from CPU, he will be the next step in regulating public utility companies.” “I’ve always stated that I am a mayor who will not sit back and let the wheels roll down the road. Clarksdale residents have high hopes for answers. Officials promised to provide answers on the reason for the rise in utility bills. “I feel like there will be something positive out of this. They know we will eventually file a suit,” George Fields, vice president of Concerned Citizens of Clarksdale said. “We have been wronged by CPU in the past.”