Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

Electrical service miscommunication provides lesson

June 19, 2008

Eudora city officials followed the mistake of sending letters informing about 15 electrical customers that the city of Eudora would be taking over electrical service from Westar Energy with action to stop the service transfer.

The reversal was the right thing to do, and the city council and administration should be saluted for taking that action with a promise to rescind the 50 percent electrical surcharge when the change happens in coming months with annexation.

Still, it's astonishing a letter informing the customers of a two-day change in electrical providers was ever penned and delivered. With any reflection, its author should have understood how badly it would be received and that the move would not get political support.

It's true that two days' notice is preferable to no notice had the wheels put in motion for the service transfer been irreversible. But that wasn't the case, and talks with Westar after the letters were delivered seem to have made rapid progress. But the city could have made the news more palatable.

Having done what was needed to resolve the issue, those in city government should review how such a gaffe occurred with the goal that it not be repeated. Eudora is going to continue to annex property on its doorstep. As elsewhere, many will welcome annexation, but some won't. Policies need to be established and followed that ensure transparency in such discussions and that all are alerted to service transfers when they are being discussed with outside utilities.

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