, or select a question below to see the answer.
- Who does the PSC regulate?
The PSC is charged with regulating the intrastate rates and services of over 1500 utility companies throughout the state. Utilities under PSC jurisdiction are investor-owned electric, gas, telecommunications, certain water and sewer utilities, rural electric and telephone cooperatives and water districts and associations.
The PSC does not regulate city-owned utilities, cable TV, voice-over internet phone service, garbage collection, propane gas companies, internet service or TVA utilities.
- Why is my bill so high this month?
There are various factors that can cause customer bills to increase dramatically from one billing period to another. Weather temperatures, number of days in a billing period, estimated or actual read and increase in rates are the most common causes for the billing amount to change. Other factors that can cause utility bills to increase are malfunctioning furnace/air conditioner/water heater/refrigerators along with line leaks or breaks. Customer may ask the utility to perform an energy audit to determine if there is a problem on the customer's side of the meter.
- I have been disconnected. What do I do now?
Customers disconnected for non-payment should contact the utility to determine the cost to re-activate their service. Disconnected customers may face a reconnect charge as well as a deposit in addition to payment of the outstanding bill. Customers may negotiate a payment plan with the company for reconnection during the months of November through March if they are "income qualified" for certain public assistance programs and if they secure and present an official "Certificate of Need" from the state social services office.
- Can a utility shut off my service without notice?
Sometimes based on the following circumstances:
- For dangerous conditions.
- When ordered to terminate immediately by a governmental office for noncompliance with state, local or other codes.
- For illegal use or theft of service.
In all other cases, utilities are required to mail customers a disconnect notice (10 days for electric and gas; 5 days for water, sewer, and telephone). The utility is required to send a disconnect notice but the utility is not responsible for lost mail. If the customer fails to receive a bill (or disconnect notice), the customer is still responsible for the payment.
- Do I have to pay the previous tenant's bill in order to obtain utility service?
No. As long as you or anyone in your household did not live at the address where the balance was incurred you can not be held responsible for a prior tenant's bill.
In past decisions, it is the opinion of the Commission that the person who applies for and receives service is solely responsible for the charges of that particular account.
- Why can't you pick the utility you want?
Electric, gas, water, and sewer utilities have protected service areas and are not currently open to competition. Telephone service, including long distance and dial tone, are open to competition. Competition in the electric and natural gas areas is being studied.
- Do I have to pay a deposit?
Yes, a utility may require from any customer a minimum cash deposit or other guaranty to secure payment of bills for new accounts, change in credit or if any substantial change in usage occurs. Utilities can also require an additional deposit if customers fail to maintain a satisfactory payment record or are disconnected.
- Why is the required deposit so high?
A utility may require from any customer a minimum cash deposit or other guaranty to secure payment of bills. Customer deposits are based on 2/12 of the customer's annual bill or can be a calculated amount as set in the utility's filed tariff.
- Can I make installments on deposit?
Usually you can make installment payments on the account plus your regular monthly bill. Deposits are divided into three or four equal installment as stated in the utility's filed tariff.
- Why does it take so long to restore my service after a storm or from being disconnected?
A storm damages not only your utility lines but also substations, transformers and utility poles as well. In many instances utility crews have to remove trees and other debris before being able to begin the actual restoration process. If the damage is widespread it can be necessary to call in additional personnel and depending on the amount of restoration it can take utility crews days, if not weeks, to restore everyone's service.
When a customer has been disconnected for non-payment, utilities have 24 hours to restore service once payment has been made.
- Can the telephone company change my long distance service without my authorization?
No. Telephone service that is switched to another carrier without authorization is referred to as "slamming". If this does happen, we advise customers to call their local telephone company, have this service switched back to their preferred carrier, and place a "freeze" on their account to combat intrusion. We also advise that you report this immediately to the PSC as well. You will be requested to provide a copy of your phone bill to the PSC in order to research your inquiry.
- My phone rings and no one is there. What do I do about harassing calls?
"Phantom calls" are sometimes experienced by phone customers and should be investigated by the company. Calls are usually computer generated calls and typically equipment failure of some sort. Otherwise, these calls may be harassing in nature and should be reported to the phone company's annoyance call bureau. They will investigate and prosecute the offending party. Complaints against telemarketing calls should go to the Attorney General's Office.
- Why does the phone not work every time that it rains?
Lines sometimes work improperly during wet weather due to moisture in the lines. As with all complaints, customers should report the outage to the company and if not resolved contact the Commission.
- The water company will not provide service to my house. Why can't I have water?
Water will be provided to everyone in accordance with 807 KAR 5:066 Section 11.
- Normal extension. An extension of fifty (50) feet or less shall be made by a utility to its existing distribution main without charge for a prospective customer who shall apply for and contract to use service for one (1) year or more.
- Other extensions are provided by obtaining a job cost and dividing the cost by the length of the project producing a per foot cost. The utility will provide fifty (50) feet at the per foot cost and the customer will pay the balance of the estimate in advance.
- Why is my water pressure so low?
The Commission requires the water utility to maintain a minimum of 30 pounds of water pressure at each meter. Low water pressure problems can be corrected and should be reported to the Commission.
- Does my water meter have to be located on my property?
Not necessarily. The utility decides the location of the meter in accordance with the location of the distribution line.
- Do utility personnel have the right to be on my property without notice or trim trees without my permission?
Utilities have rights-of-way easements on properties where service is provided. Land deed recorded at the courthouse normally stipulate these easements. Recorded easements are everlasting and transfer with the property.
807 KAR 5:006 Section 19 states: "The utility shall at all reasonable hours have access to meters, service connections and other property owned by it and located on customer's premises for purposes of installation, maintenance, meter reading, operation, replacement or removal of its property at the time service is to be terminated. Any employee of the utility whose duties require him to enter the customer's premises shall wear a distinguishing uniform or other insignia, identifying him as an employee of the utility, or show a badge or other identification which will identify him as an employee of the utility."
- The utility company did damage to my property, do they not have to pay for it?
The PSC does not have the authority to award damages. Any request for compensation would have to go through the local court system or through your insurance company. As a courtesy, the PSC will take your complaint and try to mediate the resolution.
- Why do you not "look after the public" since your name is the Public Service Commission?
We do! Even though the name Public Service Commission more accurately relates the provision of utility service to the general public, we are not charged solely with the protection of the rate-paying public alone. The mission of the Public Service Commission is to ensure that utilities charge fair, just and reasonable rates for the services provided and that those services are adequate, efficient, safe and reliable. The Attorney General's Rate Intervention Office intervenes in PSC cases on behalf of the Citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Commission's job is to balance the interest of the public and the utility.
- How do I file a complaint with the PSC?
If you have a problem with a regulated utility, please contact the utility first to try and resolve the complaint before contacting the PSC. If the utility does not resolve the issue to your satisfaction you my file a complaint in several ways:
- Via the PSC website at http://psc.ky.gov/cis/inquiry.aspx
- Call the PSC at 1-800-772-4636
- Fax – 502-564-7397
- Office– 211 Sower Blvd., Frankfort, Ky. 40601
- Mail your complaint to:
Kentucky Public Service Commission
Attn: Consumer Service
P.O. Box 615
Frankfort, KY 40602