On Friday Sep. 11, the Montana Public Services Commission (PSC) will be holding an emergency hearing regarding North Star Water and Sewer. The utility company has been accused of shutting off residents’ water without adequate notice or reason.
The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom, and a streamed version of the meeting will be available on the PSC website.
The Commission will provide opportunity for public comment at the start of the hearing. People wishing to comment must leave a telephone message at the Commission’s toll-free number, 800-646-6150.
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.
The subdivision was under lawn watering restrictions, and North Star believes the water shortage is a direct result of some residents not following watering conservation.
On Aug.t 11, the PSC denied a request from North Star to increase service charges from $70 to over $200 per household, per month. Instead, the Commission cut service rates by about $14 per month.
An emergency meeting was held on Sep.1 where the PSC heard from residents who accused the developers of retaliating against residents for opposing the utility’s requested rate increase. The Commission decided to investigate the matter as a result.
Depending on the results of the PSC’s investigation, they may fine the utility for failing to provide reasonably adequate service.