The Corbin Utilities Commission approved proposed steps to aid customers and employees during the COVID–19 situation, waiving credit card and late fees, suspending the disconnection of services for non–payment, giving employees additional sick leave, and authorizing the general manage to close the lobby if any coronavirus cases are diagnosed locally.
At a special called commission meeting Wednesday afternoon, the actions were approved.
“We felt like it was the right thing to do,” said General Manager Ron Herd.
Bill payment is typically due on the 15th of each month, with disconnection ordered on bills not paid by the 21st.
While neither of those will happen in the immediate future, Herd emphasized that overdue bills will still have to be paid, and when the crisis has past, Corbin Utilities will return to cutting off service.
“It is not a free ticket,” Herd said noting customer who can’t pay their bills will be required to set up payments when coronavirus crisis passes.
“We are playing it by ear,” Herd said when asked how long the new rules will be in effect.
Herd said Corbin Utilities has monthly expenses of between $800,000 and $900,000 between labor, the purchase of electricity from suppliers, and chemicals for water treatment.
In January, expenses were $828,000, and in February it was $907,000.
“We have about 150 days of cash on hand,” Herd said asking that anyone who is financially able to continue to pay their utility bills.
The utilities commission office been closed to walk-in traffic for bill payment.
Bills may be paid online or over the phone with no fees, or through the drive-thru.
“It is a way to limit the traffic,” Herd said noting he made the decision Thursday even though there are no local coronavirus cases.
As of Thursday, there are 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Kentucky.
Cases have been reported in seven of Kentucky’s 120 counties: Kenton, Franklin, Warren, Fayette, Harrison, Clark, Fayette, Montgomery, Jefferson, Bourbon, Nelson and Lyon.
A Bourbon County man has been reported as the only death.