West Liberty reaches agreement with gas wholesaler

West Liberty has reached an agreement with Columbia Gas Transmission Co. to halt a shutoff that was scheduled for Monday.

Columbia — not the same company as Columbia Gas in Lexington — said Elam Utility, which serves about 450 customers in Wolfe and Morgan counties, owes $644,000 for gas it delivered to customers since at least 2006. That amount is revised down from $688,000 Columbia previously claimed it was owed.

The wholesaler won a federal court judgment in September and planned to shut off service July 26 if it wasn't paid. West Liberty filed this week to buy Elam Utility, a transaction that is subject to state Public Service Commission approval. On Thursday, Columbia and West Liberty agreed to delay the shutoff until Aug. 13, and the city filed papers with the PSC outlining a plan to take over the company.

If West Liberty is allowed to take control of Elam, it will have two more weeks to retire the company's debt to Columbia, the PSC said in a news release.

West Liberty planned to buy Elam by taking over the company's total debt of about $900,000, city officials said at a public meeting last week.

A PSC hearing about whether Elam Utility's owner has abandoned the company is scheduled for Monday.

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