Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A letter to Florida Governor

My father wrote a letter to the Governor of Florida on behalf of all the people in his community that are being taken advantage of and being screwed out of affordable water by a water company. Since I'm not certain the Governor will actually ever read the letter, I thought I would help my father out and post the letter to the Goveronor of Florida on my blog.

Let's see if the Governor actually does something to help these people out.

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Governor Rick Scott,

I attended the PSC Commission meeting in Tallahassee on May 24th where there were presentations and then a decision made regarding a rate increase request for Aqua Utilities of Florida. I must say that I was extremely disappointed with the meeting and in particular the outcome of the decision made by the PSC Commission.

In the first place, none of the 5 Commissioners had ever attended any of the previous nine customer meetings held in various parts of the state. I believe the presentations provided by the individuals attending the meeting were the first time they heard any of the input regarding the issues involving this utility and the presentations were limited to only three minutes by each presenter. This obviously was not enough time to present a complete picture of the issues.

More important, it appeared that the Commission paid very little attention to one of the main objectives of their mission statement. The Mission Statement prior to the start of this rate case stated in part; “making sure that Florida’s consumers receive some of their most essential services – electric, natural gas, telephone, water and wastewater --- in a safe, affordable and reliable manner.” Unfortunately, the Mission Statement has changed three times since the rate case began. Now, the Mission Statement as published on the PSC website simply states; “To facilitate the efficient provision of safe and reliable utility services at fair prices.” Since most of the customers of this utility live on fixed incomes, the Affordable portion of the mission needs to be emphasized and not removed by the PSC on an arbitrary basis. Nowhere during the decision making process did the Commissioners mention the word affordable.

The PSC Staff did not adequately address quality of service. In particular, they used the utilities’ quality metrics as a standard. As an example, they used an answer criterion for calls to Aqua’s Customer Service of 80% of calls answered within 90 seconds. This criterion, stated more simply, says any call answered after the customer listened to 15 audible rings would be a satisfactory response time. After spending 42 years in the telephony business, I have yet to meet anyone who would listen to 15 audible rings and not hang-up. Further, the Staff heard 738 customer calls and interactions with Aqua Customer Service Representatives and that “the majority of the calls were handled in a courteous and professional manner”. A majority of 100 calls would be 51, leaving 49 being unsatisfactory. In other words the Staff did not provide any kind of a quantitative analysis to determine satisfactory performance. The Staff should have the knowledge and skill to establish benchmarks that would reflect satisfactory performance by a service provider and use those benchmarks to quantify and judge performance while not relying on the service provider’s criteria.

Lastly, the tariffs established using the “Inclining Block” method does not reflect actual costs for the provision of the product provided. Instead, it appears to reflect another change in the philosophy from the original Mission Statement for the Commission that has now been stated as a goal. The stated goal being; “Encourage and facilitate responsible use of resources and technology in the provision and consumption of utility services.” If this were really an objective, the out of state water company using millions of gallons of Florida water for sale out of state should not be allowed.

I would encourage you, as Governor, to review these last proceedings in Docket Number 100330-WS to determine if the PSC Commissioners are performing their responsibilities as originally designed, and if any changes in their process have been arbitrarily internally changed.

I thank you for your time and effort in reviewing this situation.


Keith F. Goodman

President – The Fairways at Mt. Plymouth HOA


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