The state Public Service Commission announced Wednesday that customers of Elam Utility Co. in Morgan County might be without natural gas service later this month because the utility has failed to pay its wholesale gas provider.
The PSC plans to hold a meeting to discuss the issue with customers at 6 p.m. July 15 at Morehead State University-West Liberty.
"Although there is still a possibility that a cutoff may be avoided, the PSC encourages Elam's customers to start planning for a switch from natural gas," said PSC Chairman David Armstrong in a news release. "Fortunately, cold weather is some months away, so there is ample time to switch to another way to heat homes and businesses."
The PSC said Elam has about 410 residential and commercial customers in Morgan County who would be affected. The utility's natural gas supplier is Columbia Gas Transmission Co., which told the PSC as of late June that it was owed $688,000 by Elam. The service cutoff date is set for July 26.
A call to Elam's offices seeking comment on Wednesday evening was not returned.
The utility's 40 customers in Wolfe County are served by another wholesale natural gas supplier and are not affected, according to the PSC.
Also on Wednesday, the PSC announced that it has cited Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative for not reporting major power outages during a 2009 snowstorm that caused at least 9,000 of its customers to lose power. The utility did not report the outage until contacted by PSC staff a few days after the storm, according to a news release.
The utility's failure to report the outages came a month after the PSC issued its "Ike and Ice" report on massive outages in 2008 and 2009 because of Hurricane Ike and an ice storm. The report emphasized that timely updates on outages were essential for disaster response.