Gov. Andy Beshear’s new executive order providing a moratorium on utility payments does not cover all services in the commonwealth. Companies such as Jackson Purchase Energy (JPE), Benton Electric Systems (BES), and West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (WKRECC), which are regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC), are exempt from the order and therefore have different times for resuming their disconnection procedures on customer utilities.
Utility Accountant Leslie Taylor said starting this week, BES will begin contacting their consumers and hanging door tags to inform them about the impending bills, encouraging them to make payment arrangements.
BES have also partnered with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on Oct. 20 to award West Kentucky Allied Services, Inc. $16,000.
“Benton Electric System realizes that many of our customers experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Taylor said in a press release. “By partnering with TVA on a second round of the Community Care Fund, we hope to help some of those customers through public assistance. West KY Allied Services, Inc. will be using the donation for their energy assistance program.”
She also said BES would likely not resume disconnects until December.
Scott Adair, Vice President of Human Resources and Communication and Member Services for JPE, said they have been working with their consumers from the start to pay what they could. He noted that the company could have begun disconnects as of Oct. 20, but likely would not resume “normal tariff procedures” until sometime in November.
“Disconnections are always a last resort,” Adair said.
WKRECC spokesperson Gergann Lookofsky spoke with WPSD Local 6 on Oct. 28. Like BES and JPE, the moratorium does not apply to them. They resumed their normal disconnect services on Oct. 27.