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Tighter FELPS billing rules prompt customer comments
Veronica Arriaga of PRIDE PHC Services Inc. addresses the Floresville Electric Light & Power System board of trustees during its Dec. 4 meeting.
Wilson County NewsDecember 11, 2013 2,434 views 2 comments
FLORESVILLE -- Changes over the past year aimed at increasing the profitability and efficiency of the Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS) have resulted in concerns being raised by some of the utility’s customers. During the FELPS board of trustees’ Dec. 4 meeting, three customers addressed the board.
First among them was Veronica Arriaga. In addition to being a customer, she also is a caseworker for PRIDE PHC Services Inc., which provides various services for the elderly. According to Arriaga, 54 percent of Floresville residents live at or below the poverty level and 62 percent of city residents are considered “senior citizens.” She indicated that in the past six months, requests to her agency for utility assistance have tripled, prompting Arriaga to ask the board to consider establishing an assistance program, similar to San Antonio-based CPS Energy’s Residential Energy Assistance Partnership.
FELPS General Manager Kyle Dicke said the utility’s new billing software will allow customers to donate money toward such a fund, which could become a reality in the summer of 2014.
Lance Neill also addressed the board about recently being asked to pay a deposit after having his electricity reconnected.
In addition to having issues with a deposit that they were assessed, James and Karen Zablosky also raised concerns over a high bill that followed four consecutive months of their home’s electrical meter not being read. During the long and often heated exchange between the board and the Zabloskys, Dicke informed the couple that a meter reader had noted that the meter was not read for four months because it was deemed difficult to read, due to being behind a locked gate. So the general manager offered to have a radio-read meter installed so that electrical usage can be recorded from the street.
Dicke said that customers sometimes are asked to pay deposits after power has been disconnected, due to nonpayment or if a customer has a history of late payments. This, he said, is explained in FELPS’ terms and conditions, which were revised in March. To view these regulations, visit wilsoncountynews.com.
“These policies have been in place for many, many years and we’ve given [Dicke] direction that these policies have to be enforced,” said Floresville Mayor Diana Garza, who sits on the utility’s board.
Dicke said that in addition to enforcing the terms and conditions, FELPS also will conduct a rate-comparison study in 2014 to ensure that fees charged are in line with their actual costs. He also said that beginning in January, purchased-power adjustments will be “levelized” on a quarterly basis, which will prevent the constant fluctuation of that fee.
The purchased-power adjustment on bills mailed Nov. 22 reflect a charge of $12.21 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours, compared to $23.91 in October, $10.72 in September, and a $6.54 credit in August.
For more on the Dec. 4 board meeting, see article page 3A.
Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS) board of trustees meeting Dec. 4. In attendance: Board members Mark Moczygemba, Patrick Pollok, Larry Stavinoha, Ignacio Vasquez, Marlin Tanneberger, and Floresville Mayor Diana Garza; FELPS General Manager Kyle Dicke and Finance Manager Marcy Jacobs.
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