City of Camden Utility Concerns, Complaints, and Questions

City of Camden Utility Concerns, Complaints, and Questions

August 17, 2022
Signatures: 1,360Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Lizz Holck

City of Camden Customer Concerns:
⦁ We need a clear and transparent answer on what the City of Camden is doing now to provide relief or knowledge that the rate increase will or will not return at the 6-month deadline. (If the increase will be coming back in January, we need ample notice, so we have time to prepare for the increase in billing especially since it will occur right after the holidays.)
⦁ We would like more transparency and communication from our billing department and the City of Camden Utility Department, such as sending notices via postal mail, email, or an application. (Preferably an application available through the Google or Apple store with web access.)
⦁ Many users report that increases are causing them to choose between paying their City of Camden utility bill or paying for normal monthly expenses. (Examples: medications, mortgage/rent, gas, phone bills, insurance, county/city taxes, etc.)
⦁ Many users report the utility bill increases are impacting their financial well-being, such as not shopping at local stores or restaurants (inside and outside of Camden), taking money from their saving's accounts or reducing contributions to savings accounts (401k), etc. 
⦁ Some local Camden businesses' state they will not be able to keep the doors open or provide quality service due to the increases. (Businesses' report they will have to reduce staffing and increase prices to stay in business.)
⦁ Many users report, they are considering selling their homes or finding other places to rent outside of the City of Camden utility base. (This includes discouraging others from moving to or shopping in Camden.)
⦁ Users inside and outside of city limits are paying different rates. Outside users are paying a higher rate than users inside of city limits and users do not get the same benefits. Also, there are additional charges for users outside of city limits which make up at least half of the City of Camden utility base.
⦁ Many users are being directly impacted by the City of Camden council's decisions without the ability to vote for members that control the utility department, which is in control without state regulation or local representation. 
⦁ Many users report they are currently not able to get a response after contacting the City of Camden administration via phone and/or email.
⦁ We would like to see regulations at a state level or within the City of Camden council that is visible to all utility users with a clear head of the departement. (This is not currently available from the state due to CofC being a municipality, decisions are made by local government and ARE NOT regulated by the state commission.) 
⦁ We would like to have an option for users that are unable to pay, such as a pay plans or installment schedules. (This is especially important for users that are on a fixed income.)
⦁ We would like for fees to be waived for users adjusting to any unexpected increases, regardless of the reason why. (We cannot risk users not having electricity in these hot and cold months.)
⦁ We would like to know what services and systems will be improved with monies collected from the increases.
⦁ We are concerned at how the increases will affect the City's reputation, morale, and culture. 

Questions we would like answered by city officials: 
⦁ Is the decision official on the rate increase beginning 01/2023?
⦁ Is there a plan or to allow the city to renegotiate the utility contract that was signed?
⦁ What relief programs, extensions, or options will the city offer to users that cannot pay? Also, will fees be waived and for how long?
⦁ What plans of action does the city plan to take due to the projected rise in natural gas prices? 
⦁ What budget cuts are being considered to offset the cost to users? How will this impact users?
⦁ Why did the city enter into a contract with a company that only offers natural gas versus multiple energy resources?
⦁ Who can we contact at the city to get more detailed information on what is being done and what is a good contact number? (Many users report they are unable to reach anyone at the administration office or get a call back, myself included.)

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Signatures: 1,360Next Goal: 1,500
Support now