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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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July 24, 2013     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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July 24, 2013
 

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 News pirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE. Citizens group drawing up new land use map ByBRYAN CLARK vision to the county's comprehen- Bryan@spiritofjefferson.com sive plan. The map, which will be used when considering future re- CHARLES TOWN - A pair of zoning requests after it has been meetings to be held over the next finalized, will be presented to the five days could have major im- public in January. pacts on the shape of future de- Developing the future land velopment in Jefferson County. use map is part of the process for The two comprehensive plan drawing up the 2014 Comprehen- workshops will ask citizens for sive Plan, with the aim of shaping input in forming a future land use what direction development will map that will be included in a re- take until 2035, though the "We took a lot of informa- plan will be revised again in tion" Jennifer Brockman, di- 2024. Citizens who attend the rector of the planning depart- meetings will have access to ment, told commissioners. an existing land use map that Those results have so far was prepared by the planning been compiled into a 20-page staff and that details present draft list of 27 goals, with as development patterns, many as 13 objectives per The whole process has been goal. led by a steering committee At last week's meeting, the of citizens as well as the staff effort caused Commissioner of the Planning Department, Dale Manuel to recall a study which held a joint meeting completed on the eastern sec- with the County Commission tion of U.S. 340 that was ul- Thursday to provide an update timately shelved. Manuel said on their progress, he hoped mistakes made dur- The group told the commis- ing that process would not be sion that they have so far held repeated. three open public workshops "I know we all want to and conducted an online sur- avoid what happened with vey to gather input from citi- Route 340," Manuel said. "I zens with a stake in future de- don't want something that, velopment. See ENVISION Page A10 By ROBERT SMITH news@ spiritoljefferson.com HARPERS FERRY -- A 25- year-old man who drowned in the Potomac River near Harpers Ferry Friday afternoon was identified as Joshua Carr, of Hamilton, Va., ac- cording to the Maryland Depart- ment of Natural Resources Police. According to Brian Albert, pub- lic information officer of the Mary- land Department of Natmal Re- sources Police, Cart was swim- ruing with Jennifer Fm'seUe, 22, of hncellville, Va., around 2:30 pan. Friday when the two encountered a slxong current after getting into the river from the West Vhginia side. According to police, both began to sffuggle and attempted to return to shore. Carr was swept down- sm am and went beneath the wa- ter. Furselle swam to the shore and sought help, Albert said. Rescue personnel from Mary-, land and West Vhginia searched, the river for the victim. The search was suspended shortly before 9' pan. Friday due to hazardous con- ditions and darkness, according to Albert. Rescue personnel found Cart's body around 3 pan. Saturday after resuming the search, police said. According to police, alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident. The accident remains under in- vestigation. Rrat Frida9 RESCHEDULEE The June 1st Friday concert was rescheduled to Friday, July 26th at Evitts Run Park from 7-9 pm with the band Revolution. DID YOU KNOW? : The City of Charles Town Planning Commission has I vacancy. + Interested applicants should submit a letter stating their interest : and experience to the City Clerk at kiya@charlestownwv.us, or PO , Box 14, Charles Town, WV 25414. Phone: 304-725-231 1 101 E. Washington St./P0 Box 14 Charles Town, WV 25414-0014 www.charlestownwv.us illul Facebook i PANDORA+ UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS [~ 8064 Winchester Ave Inwood, WV "~~ ~~9.//~ 304 229 8080 bechdeljewelers com Mon-Thurs 10-5 Fri I(~8 Sat 10-5 ~Find us on Facebook Acupuncture Tuesday Only ,,ith Herb Clark, 10am- 1 pm 3-7pro Walk-Ins Welcome HEALTH AND WELLNESS, PLLC Over I0 Years Experience Jason Winseck, D.C. Convenient Location Flexible Hours 304.724.9401 asishealth'wellness'cm 120 Commerce Circle, Kearneysville, WV 25430 PSC curate and frequent estimated billing." FROM PAGE A1 FirstEnergy had explained in a filing that it was seeking State regulations require elec- to implement a more efficient tric utilities to bill based on actual meter reading process after the meter readings at least every oth- merger that saw the acquisi- er month, unless unforeseen cir- tion of Potomac Edison. cumstances intervene. "Prior to the merger, meter FirstEnergy had asked that the readers at Men Power and Po- case be .dismissed at the begin- tomac Edison performed the ning of the month. Last week, the tasks of not only reading me- PSC denied the utility's request, ters but also field collections "The Commission does not and service order work (dis- find the current state of FirstEn- connect/reconnect)," the com- ergy customer service and bill- pany wrote. "Both companies ing practices to be satisfactory utilized seasonal employees nor does it believe that this pro- to assist with these three func- ceeding should be dismissed," tions, and, as a result of the the commission said in its rul- merger, the Men Power and ing. "FirstEnergy acknowledged Potomac Edison meter read- some level of billing and custom- ing employees now only read er service problems, but the infer- meters while other employees mation presented to the Commis- perform the tasks of collec- sion points out reason for concern tions and service order work. about the magnitude of the prob- This increased specialization lems." results in meter reading effi- FirstEnergy has said that the ciencies." billing issues stem largely from FirstEnergy had argued that last year's derecho and Hurricane the billing inconsistencies had Sandy, both of which required largely been resolved after the meter readers to respond to wide- company recovered from last spread power outages, year's storms, but the PSC But the PSC said these issues said that data submitted in re- alone did not fully explain the sponse to discovery requests problems, suggested problems were still "Beyond the adverse weather ongoing. conditions last year, the July 1, "FirstIEnergy acknowl- 2013 filing indicates that choic- edged tthe existence of billing and cusltomer service problem es made by FirstEnergy may -have contributed to the circum- but characterized the current stances underlying its billing and problems as short-term and customer service problems," the resolved," the Commission PSC wrote. "The large number wrote. "The data FirstEnergy of billing process changes imple- filed, however, demonstrated mented on an aggressive sched- that in the last month it report- ule may have contributed to inac- ed (May 2013), 5.3 percent of its customers received two consecutive estimated bills and a further 2.2 percent of customers received three con- secutive estimated bills." The Commission further noted that it is still receiv- ing formal and informal com- plaints about the company's billing practices and said the company has not been suffi- ciently proactive in resolving billing issues. "Problems arising from the process changes were appar- ently compounded by the fact that in nearly half of those cas- es, many customers calling the customer service center were required to place multiple calls to resolve billing problems," it said. The PSC ordered FirstEner- gy to continue to begin regu- larly reporting customer con- tact center statistics, the per- centage of customers with two or more consecutive estimates, the number of meter reader positions and employees, the status of the meter re-number- ing project, enhancements to the company's method of es- timat'mg bills, the percentage of meters reread, the number and types of complaints along with the percentage resolved on first call and the number of customers on deferred pay- ment plans. Patience Wait, an activist with the Coalition for Reli- able Power which, along with the NAACP, has organized cit- izens to report billing prob- lems, says she feels the PSC's ruling is a step in the right di- rection. She hopes the PSC will take further action to address cus- tomers who received unex- pected outsized bills. "There are people who have been actually harmed, by the way FirstEnergy has done this," Wait said. "There was nothing in there to indicate any measures other than re-, porting data. There is nothing. to make them do anything dif- ferently." Wait says many ratepayers are affected. "There are people whose electricity got tumed off be- cause they couldn't find a way to pay a $1,000 bill," Wait said. "That caused a lot of harm, be- : cause then they have to pay to get it reconnected agam." "There are other people who- paid their electric bills and had to let other bills go unpaid be-' cause, particularly as we came. up on the heat, people worry" about having air condition-2 ing," she said. "So they may have other creditors who are, hitting them with penalties. "There will be citizens who' will be asking for some kind of, recompense, that they be made whole in some way," she said. - Wait said that, based on her conversations with ratepayers," some of the billing problems are still ongoing. "We're still getting tom-* plaints," she said. "We're get-i ting complaints about an ex-, cessive number estimates.: We're getting complaints', about rudeness from the folks" at the call center." :ii,-f 61 st Annual Jefferson County 18-24, 2013. ilililili!i!ililililiiiiiiiiiiililil .+ As the official publication of the 2013 Jefferson County Fair, the Spirit of Jefferson is proud to announce its fourth annual :.::::::.:::::::= is a great in the area your business and that fair! i ................................ Mary Burns at 304- Ext. 23 for more or to reserve space. ERSON I