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Archive for the ‘Pasco County’ Category

Feb
18

Setting aside the Florida Public Service Commission’s pathetic attempt to stroke Aqua customers last Tuesday, let us not forget the reason for the season – Aqua Utilities Florida.

In the spotlight – Aqua’s total lack of concern for its customers in the Jasmine Lakes and Palm Terrace service area, in west Pasco County.

How any good corporate citizen can financially RAPE its customers, month after month, and then give them in return, water that no one wants to drink, bathe or wash with,  goes beyond understanding.  And of course, the smell of sewage just adds more insult to injury.

These folks can’t use Aqua’s water, and they can’t afford it, paying some of the highest rates in the State of Florida. Higher than their electric bills.

A significant number of single-parent families and seniors on fixed incomes live in this area. Many of these folks are caught between a rock and a hard place:  they can’t afford to stay there, and they can’t afford to relocate.

Then there’s the other water bill they have to pay – for the water they do drink and cook with.  And going elsewhere to bathe and do laundry is not uncommon.

Is this the best a good corporate citizen can do?  Is willing to do?  Has Aqua done anything of consequence to help these 2,500+ customers?  Ever?  Does this corporate citizen have any compassion for anyone, other than its  stockholders?

I’m not talking about making an effort to help some of their customer base.   “Effort” is a word this company loves to use, when reminding us of all their so-called accomplishments. The fact is, Aqua’s only accomplishments, turn out to be nothing more than effort, and never have anything to do with actually providing any genuine basic service that truly benefits their customers in this service area.

If the customer isn’t satisfied with what they have to drink, cook and bathe with, and the cost is unaffordable, and if the customer doesn’t have the right to use another service provider, and if the government regulator isn’t willing to take a position to protect the customer, wouldn’t a good corporate citizen look at other available alternatives, rather than subject the customer to an unending, unbearable situation?

There is a solution to this problem.  It is very simple, very logical, and even financially sound.  A good corporate citizen would make a good corporate decision – sell this system to Pasco County. The county is interested in acquiring this system, and is more capable of providing better Quality of Service at affordable rates.

A bad corporate decision will probably result in an “eminent domain” action. Let’s pray it doesn’t have to come to that.   A good corporate citizen wouldn’t let it come to that.

Seriously, those of you who are people of faith – please pray.

 

 

Feb
18

Aqua officials sent their field techs into our park yesterday, to check on my water, so don’t be surprised to hear them cry “foul”, in the very near future.

For the record, to the best of our recollection:

Peter Linton-Smith, of Channel 13, Fox News, interviewed myself and a few others the day before.  That 45 minute session was edited down to about the 1 minute that was broadcast later that day.  We thought the news clip was excellent, however, clarification needs to be made, regarding one of the statements made by the reporter:

To my knowledge, none of us stated that our water was “undrinkable”.  We did say that there are residents in Aqua’s Zephyr Shores Service Area (eastside of Pasco County), that will not and/or cannot drink the water, and many will not wash clothes with it.  There are two (2) communities in this service area, serving approximately 500 customers.

The water coming into my unit appears to be drinkable, but I filter my water, nonetheless, and I live in an area of the park where the water is constantly moving, which contributes to the appearance of the water.  Also, we met with the reporter at our clubhouse, not at my home.

Residents who live on the outer parts of the park, are still having problems with odor, sediment, and taste. This problem becomes more severe when the seasonal residents go north for the summer, as the amount of usage goes way down.

We also shared the horror stories of Aqua’s Jasmine Lakes and Palm Terrace Service Area (westside of Pasco County) with the reporter.  This area is has about 2,500 customers. The area is economically depressed, perhaps, more than any other area of Pasco County, which is, perhaps, the poorest county in the state.  These customers are suffering the most.  They can’t drink it! And they can’t afford it!

Their water is totally unusable for any purpose other than flushing toilets. The smell of sewage is deplorable. The cost to these customers is extremely high. On top of that, they have to buy additional usable water and go elsewhere to do laundry.

Fox’s news team does an awesome job of reporting, but sometimes things get misplaced in the process of getting a story put together.

And we certainly don’t want Aqua to feel we have mis-represented our statements.

Dave Bussey
FLOW Florida Volunteer and
Aqua Customer
Zephyrhills, FL

Jan
11

Tampa Tribune third article of a series of stories on Pasco County people to watch in 2012

Please click the link below for full story:

http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2012/jan/11/panewso1-state-rep-will-weatherford-doesnt-shirk-t-ar-345955/

 

 

 

 

Jan
08

Pasco  wields influence:

Local leaders are in key positions to help shape policy in Tallahassee

click link below for full story:

http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2012/jan/08/panewso1-pasco-wields-influence-ar-344865/

 

Nov
01

Root canal…….. tooth extraction……… piece of cake, when compared to trying to get some simple facts from the Florida Public Service Commission.  And I thought the Customer Service at Aqua was bad!

You know, it’s one thing to ask for an “opinion” about a certain issue or subject.  But it’s quite another to ask for factual information.  But apparently, the Staff at the FPSC is having trouble distinguishing between the two.

Here’s a good example:  the other day I sent an email to the FPSC, asking for some facts, regarding our service area, in Zephyrhills, Florida.  We have approximately 450 ratepayers, and several of them are wanting to see a detailed accounting of Aqua’s activities at our service area.

Sounds pretty simple, don’t you think?  Well, I thought so, but according to the FPSC, they can’t provide these facts, because there is currently an open case with Aqua.  I was also advised that my request for factual information was considered to be “discovery” and/or a request for information, rather than a request for a public record.

All I wanted to know was how much Aqua invested in our service area over the last 5 years, along with a detailed accounting (maintenance, improvements, etc.)  That kind of information doesn’t require an “opinion” from the FPSC.  All they have to do is look at their records, retrieve the info, and forward it to us.

Also, I wanted to know how much Aqua was collecting in Base Facility Charges from our service area.  Actually, that’s kind of a “no brainer” ($53/month x 450 ratepayers x 60 months = $1,431,000.00.

In addition, I wanted to know how much “subsidy” was going to be added to our BFC, because we’re a “high-cost” system that requires additional monies from other ratepayers in Aqua’s network in Florida.

The Staff at the FPSC is saying they can’t provide this factual information, because of a current open rate case.  Really!  Granted, they may not be able to provide actual data for this fiscal year, but they could for the previous four (4) years……… BUT THEY REFUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!  WHY???????????

I’m afraid to pick up the phone and call them – “Peggy” might answer!

Dave Bussey

 

Oct
16

Governor please don’t let your staff forward this email to the Public Service Commission. That would be considered just passing the buck. These commissioners don’t care. They have heard it all. The only thing on their minds is where do we go from here.  I am asking you to act and get involved.  You are the top state elected official.  The PSC commissioners don’t worry about getting re-elected, but you do.  They are concerned only about what their next job will be.  It could be with a utility that they now oversee.
At the last PSC hearing held in Lakeland concerning Aqua Utility’s requested rate increase I heard some of the most compelling reasons to cut back any increases the the PSC has awarded this company.  This company operates like the monopoly that it is, with the help of the PSC.  Florida’s citizens cannot sell or rent their homes where these homes are under the grip of Aqua Utility because of the outrages water and sewer rates. No Aqua customer will even water their lawns.  They can’t afford the cost.
The PSC cut a request of a rate increase for $4.1 million to $2.61 million.  That increase means that folks carefully watching their water usage will pay for a single person approximately $85 a month and families anywhere from $120 to $200 a month.  Aqua’s base rate is around $60 a month. One speaker at the meeting brought along a bill from a near bye neighbor on a public water system.  The bill for one month was $26.
The Office of Public Council and many elected officials are joining the fight against the PCS’s rate increases.  It’s time for you to join in.  Aqua’s stock is publicly traded and the company is worth about one billion dollars.  I don’t feel that the PSC will do anything to help us as they are not accountable to anyone.   The Florida Office Of Public Council has issued a paper that backs up everything that this letter explains.
Charles Tanner
9027 Lake Point Blvd.
Lake Wales, FL. 33898
863-696-8074

 

Oct
16

Governor Scott:
I attended a final hearing against the Aqua Utilities rate increase request on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 in New Port Richey, FL.
This company has got to be stopped.  They are endangering the lives of their customers in Pasco County.  I can’t speak for others that they service.
This company does not deliver ingestible water to our homes.  We have to buy potable water elsewhere so we are actually paying two water companies.
I am a retired bank manager so I know quite a bit about business, and I can assure you that this company is price-gouging.  They are already receiving the highest rates in Pasco County and they claim they need more.  Management problem? or price gouging?  They claim they need this raise because consumption is down.  This is like the neighborhood bully crying because no one will play with him after he just beat up every kid on the block.  We cannot intake this water.  We have to buy it elsewhere and haul it to our homes as if we lived in a campground.
I have lived in my home 26 years (the longest of anyone on my block) and I am so strong-willed that I refuse to let Aqua Utilites force me to move.  I like my neighbors and they are not low-lifes.  They are hard-working homeowners who are struggling.  They look out for me, and I am endeavoring to look out for them.
I know that what you are hearing from me is just words; but these very words represent our LIVES.
Please help us!!!
Respectfully,
Lynda L. Wittkopp
10531 Azalea Drive
Port Richey, Fl 34668
727-868-8692

Oct
14

‘Demonstrators’ politely boiling over Aqua Utilities’ water rate hike (Tampa Tribune)

 

http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2011/oct/12/panewso1-demonstrators-politely-boiling-over-aqua–ar-271237/

Oct
14

Oct
10

Pasco county customer hearing is set for Tuesday in New Port Richey and Wednesday in Lakeland

Tampa Tribune article click link below