Feb. 6, 2013 — Last Friday's special meeting of the Olive Hill City Council was packed with debate about provisions of the city's new electric rate ordinance.
In fact, the matter nearly ended in a state of limbo that would have delayed utility billing.
During a public hearing before the meeting, several citizens spoke at length about how increased utility rates have affected their daily lives.
“I would ask that you try to find other ways to conserve so that those of us who live on a fixed income aren't hit so hard, so that residents don't have to carry the load,” said Frances Adkins.
“I have to wait until I get my utility bill to see if I can afford to get gas or buy groceries,” she added.
Though Council members conceded that the base rates for homeowners would increase under the new ordinance, they also touted that overall bills will decrease after applying the new Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) formula, with some Council members claiming as much as $10 a month in savings from mock bills calculated under the new proposals.
The real debate, however, centered on the meter testing policy in the new ordinance.
In the proposed language, residents with concerns about their meters would have to place a $50 deposit with the utility office before a meter would be sent away for testing.
Council member Glenn Meade was particularly concerned with this provision, arguing that residents living on fixed incomes may not have those funds available to pay up front and consequently would be saddled with a malfunctioning meter that could affect their bills each month.
Meade proposed amending the ordinance, but other Council members scoffed at the notion, calling it a “minor issue” in the ordinance.
Jerry Callihan, Enoch Hicks and Angie Johnson voted in favor of the adopting the proposal. Allen Stapleton and Tony Williams were absent.