LET’S STAY FOCUSED
from THE BETTER CLARKSDALE FOUNDATION
by Stanley Clark, Chairman
There is much to do about the Mayor and Board of Commissioners’ attempt to take over Clarksdale Public Utilities. Clarksdale Public Utilities or CPU is currently operating under a manager/board system. There has been a lot said about which entity should be in charge of CPU. All I can say about that is this: whatever the mayor’s reasons are for wanting to see a change from a manager/board system are what they are. Whatever CPU’s reasons are for not wanting to see the change, well, they are what they are as well.
What is noticeably absent in this array is a genuine consideration for the people of Clarksdale. It’s the people of Clarksdale who are the rightful owners of CPU, and the city hall too for that matter. It is the people of Clarksdale who should be deciding who is in charge of CPU and how it should be run. Period.
The citizens of Clarksdale, Mississippi are sick and tired of BEING sick and tired of aloof government and the running of our public agencies with no regard to us citizens.
What we the people CAN NOT do is allow this legislative quest and the opposition to it to become subterfuge and draw our attention away from the peoples’ agenda.
We must get these runaway utility bills under control by any means necessary!
We must get our utility company out of the hands of anyone inclined to run it as they see fit, and keep it out!
The problem with CPU and every other public agency in this town is that the people have no control over it, nor do they have any say so in how its run; I’ll be damned if that’s not going to change!
The Better Clarksdale Foundation with input from the PEOPLE, has proposed a citizen’s bill of rights as a first step to address problems with public utilities in Clarksdale, Mississippi. We have started a petition that I urge all Clarksdalians to sign. We are posting the latest copy of the citizens bill of rights with this article (below).
With God as my witness and your help. This city will be run of, for and by the people at the end of the day!
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
CLARKSDALE PUBLIC UTILITIES
RATE PAYERS OF THE CITY OF THE CITY OF CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI
CLARKSDALE MUNICIPAL RATE PAYERS BILL OF RIGHTS
Whereas the citizens of Clarksdale, Mississippi, hereinafter referred to as rate payers
And Clarksdale Public Utilities, hereinafter referred to as Clarksdale Public Utilities, have decided to
establish for the efficient and transparent interactions, the following rights to be made available to all
residential and commercial utility customers of the Municipality of Clarksdale, Mississippi under the
provisions of Clarksdale Public Utilities:
Rate Payer’s Rights in General
- Residents of the Municipality of Clarksdale, Mississippi shall have as a general right, the most efficient and economical utility services available to the city.
- Residents of the Municipality of Clarksdale, Mississippi shall have as a general right, the right to complete transparency in the dealings of Clarksdale Public Utilities.
- Residents of the Municipality of Clarksdale, Mississippi shall have as a general right, the right to address grievance to the General Manager.
Interruption of Service
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of service for nonpayment on any Saturday or Sunday or any holiday observed by the utility, unless the utility is open to accept payment and restore service on those days.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of service for a period of sixty (60) days for nonpayment when the utility receives written notice from a medical doctor licensed to practice in the State of Mississippi, or any adjoining state, certifying that discontinuance of service would create a life-threatening situation for the customer or other permanent resident of the customer’s household.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of service or refusal of service because a former occupant, not of the same household, failed to pay prior bill.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of service for failure to pay for merchandise purchased from Clarksdale Public Utilities.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid disconnection of their electric or gas service between December 1 and March 1.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of electric service for nonpayment of bills if, as of 8:00 a.m. on the scheduled disconnection day, an Excessive Heat Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the county of the scheduled disconnection.
- Ratepayers who have had their service discontinued for non-payment, shall have the right to have their service restored in a prompt and efficient manner on the first business day after the balance due is paid, except under extreme circumstances where ongoing restoration efforts prevent reconnection from occurring within that time period.
Notice of Interruption of Service
- Ratepayers shall have the right to be given a written notice from the utility company of pending discontinuation of service at least five (5) days prior to disconnection of service. This notice shall include a date on or after which discontinuance may occur.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to negotiate with Clarksdale Public Utilities a delayed payment plan to avoid discontinuation of service for a delinquent account in accordance with the utility’s terms and conditions.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to designate another person to receive all information regarding their services including notices regarding past due bills and disconnection of service.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to avoid discontinuation of service for failure to pay a portion of any bill that is in dispute, provided that a deposit is made by the ratepayer for amounts in dispute.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to negotiate monthly installments for initial service deposits in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) provided that the entire amount of the deposit is paid within 60 days.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to view or listen to Clarksdale Public Utilities hearings and docket calls that are held via the internet.
- Ratepayers shall be given accurate and understandable itemization of billing as well as the price and terms of service.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to intervene in any case before Clarksdale Public Utilities affecting their rates or their utility service.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to have a written explanation if the utility company refuses to initially serve a consumer. When the ratepayer has provided the utility company with a valid mailing address, the explanation shall be mailed to the ratepayer within seven (7) business days and shall include the reason service is being refused and what actions the consumer must take in order to receive service.
- Ratepayers shall have the right to Board representation. Clarksdale, Mississippi’s Mayor and Board of Commissioners shall appoint board members to Clarksdale Public Utilities.
- Each member shall be assigned an area of the city of Clarksdale to represent and shall have the general responsibilities to be the field representative for the ratepayers within his or her designated area with regards to issues of public utilities. It shall be the duty of board members to identify issues within their area and work towards solutions.
- In addition to their general duties, each board member shall be responsible for maintaining the following:
- A public access phone.
- An official business email address.
- A 72 hour turn around on phone calls and emails.
- Arraigning monthly meetings within their respective areas one week prior to Clarksdale Public Utilities monthly meetings.
BE IS SWORN AND ASCRIBED BEFORE ME THIS THE _____ DAY OF ______________2019