The state Public Service Commission has ordered the former owner of a recently sold natural gas company to pay $12,500 in fines for repeatedly failing to provide updated energy costs.
Despite Wilma Ison-Sorrell's recent sale of Elam Utility Co. Inc. to the city of West Liberty, the PSC has ordered the fine, as the violations pre-dated the sale, according to the PSC's order.
The PSC said Elam Utility failed to file quarterly adjustments of its natural gas costs, an adjustment process that is required to ensure the wholesale cost of fuel is passed on dollar-for-dollar to customers.
Ison-Sorrell did not return a message left Monday.
Last December, the utility settled a similar case and Ison-Sorrell was to pay a $10,000 fine with $7,500 of that suspended for a year if there were no more violations. Ison paid the $2,500 but the utility then failed to file its gas cost adjustment in the second quarter of 2010, according to the PSC.
The new fine calls for Ison-Sorrell to pay the $7,500, the portion of the previous fine that was suspended, as well as $2,500 for failing to file the gas cost adjustment and another $2,500 for not responding to a PSC order issued in April.
The fine is due within 30 days.
The case and fine do not affect Elam Utility, the PSC said, as the sale means it is no longer a viable utility company.
The transfer of Elam Utility to the city of West Liberty became a hot-button issue this summer, as the company faced having its supply of natural gas cut off because of unpaid debts. The company owed $644,000 to Columbia Gas Transmission Co. for gas that Elam had drawn from Columbia's lines for customers since at least 2006.
Under their arrangement, Elam was then to purchase natural gas from third-party providers, which add that amount of natural gas back to Columbia's lines.
The city of West Liberty agreed to take over the company's total debt of about $900,000 in exchange for the company's assets, valued at about $750,000. The city also runs a municipal water and sewer company.