Welsh residents upset after power disconnected, delinquency fees charged during pandemic

Welsh residents upset after power disconnected, delinquency fees charged during pandemic

WELSH, La. (KPLC) - With many businesses still closed and a high record of unemployment — some people across Louisiana and the country are struggling to make ends meet.

So, the Town of Welsh decided to waive fees for its residents from Mar. 20 to Apr. 13. Since that time frame has passed, some residents have had their electricity turned off and a $100 delinquency fee added to their bill. Something Jake Simar, a Welsh resident, said should be waived given the circumstances.

“I was blessed enough to have just enough finances after being back at work for two weeks to cover that expense, but my question is what about the people who aren’t in that position? What about the single mother? Who had to spend last night, you know, in a hot house with children?" Simar said.

“The courtesy of our electricity crew going to their doors and letting them know ahead of time. Not just cutting off the electricity and saying ‘electricity’s off’, we don’t do that," Welsh Mayor Carolyn Louviere said.

Louviere said in this case, residents need to be proactive about communicating their financial struggles.

“If they’re having a difficult time with paying and that, they can come in and they can sign an extension. Once they sign that extension and if they need us to help them work out a payment plan, we can do that," Louviere said.

At the same time, she said they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“The town is paying for the electricity and we have a big bill to pay. But we try to hold out as long as we can," Louviere said.

Again, she said if a resident comes in to sign an extension before they reach delinquency on their account, she’s more than happy to help.

Utilities operated by cities, parishes and non-profit water boards are regulated by local officials and thus are exempt from Louisiana Public Service Commission jurisdiction and the Governor’s order.

To contact Welsh city hall, you can call 337-734,2231.

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