North Star makes case before PSC

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 20:33:31-04

On Friday, the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) held an emergency hearing regarding accusations North Star Water and Sewer shut off residents’ water without adequate notice or reason on August 30th.

North Star provided testimony and documentation about the water use by the subdivision, arguing the previous water shut off was the result of over watering by residents that were aware of water restrictions.

At around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 30, North Star sent out an email notifying residents that water would be shut off at 11:00 p.m until 6:00 a.m. so that the holding tank could recharge.

However, homes lost water about an hour and a half earlier than the planned shut off.

The owners of North Star showed MTN the digital water gauge on the water system, which clearly indicated the holding tank ran completely out of water shortly after 9:00 p.m. on Aug. 30.

A lawyer with the Montana Consumer council raised concerns over a history of water issues in the area and a lack of metered watering to even know if water restrictions are being violated.

The commission did not make a decision Friday about the situation, but could end up fining North Star over the incident.

Homeowners MTN spoke with said they weren’t interested in the Commission fining North Star, and would rather see money go back into improving the system.

“There’s some serious, serious inadequacies with the system and I hope that this process brings some resolution, bring some solutions to those problems rather than just creating more animosity between the water company and homeowners,” said North Star Resident Derek Oestreicher.

North Star is required to submit a brief to the PSC by Sep. 25, with a final brief due by Oct. 21.