Florida Keys

Keys utility owes customers for billing violations

Sunset Marina, on Stock Island, is one customer owed refunds.
Sunset Marina, on Stock Island, is one customer owed refunds. Google Maps

A Key West public utility must pay back more than $67,000 to customers after the state found it not sticking to the approved rates.

According to the Florida Public Service Commission, the Key West Resort Utilities Corporation “repeatedly demonstrated a disregard for its obligation to charge its PSC-approved rates.”

The utility, which provides wastewater service to 1,865 customers in Monroe County, has already refunded more than $141,000 total to three of its customers: $72,701 to Meridian West, $25,512 to Banyan Grove, and $43,402 to Flagler Village.

The PSC on Tuesday also ordered the utility to refund $26,408 plus interest to Safe Harbor Marina and $41,034 plus interest to Sunset Marina after the agency discovered additional billing irregularities.

“Our staff audit and investigation of KWRU’s billing practices found attempts to rectify errors, but also revealed continued problems that warrant action,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham in a statement Tuesday. “We expect KWRU’s management to mitigate its incorrect billing practices and satisfy customer concerns.”

Chris Johnson, president of KWRU, didn’t return two phone messages seeking comment.

The utility has 21 days in which to tell PSC why it shouldn’t be fined $10,000 for failing to charge the state-approved rates.

Also Tuesday, the PSC approved a $1.5 million revenue increase to KWRU’s operational costs, having reduced the utility’s request by more than $400,000. A residential customer who uses 4,000 gallons per month will pay $79.78 monthly, an increase of $26.80.

KWRU only provides wastewater services. Water service is handled by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.