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BPU Says Services Won’t Be Shut Off During Outbreak

Jamestown Board of Public Utilities board members during their online meeting Monday. David Leathers, BPU general manager, said no electric or water service will be shut off to customers with a delinquent account during the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities said it will not shut off electric or water service to any customers with a delinquent account during the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.

On Monday, Grant Olson, BPU board member, asked David Leathers, BPU general manager, a question about shutting off BPU services to customers during the pandemic. Leathers said BPU officials are still issuing disconnect notices to customers who have a delinquent account. However, Leathers said the notification states the BPU will not shut off their service.

“A lot of people are struggling, so we’re not going to shut off electric or water,” he said.

Leathers said from a financial perspective there will be challenges for the city-owned utility because of the virus. He said BPU officials probably won’t start to notice the financial impact until May.

In other BPU business, the board approved a new four-year contract extension with Teamsters Local 264, who represents 12 full-time solid waste employees. The current contract was set to expire at the end of 2021. Following the contract extension, the new agreement is set to expire Dec. 31, 2025.

According to a BPU news release, the new agreement provides wage increases of 2% for full-time Level I employees in the years 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. Three employees comprise full-time Level I status. Full-time Level II employees will see a new, eight-year graduated pay scale that starts at $16.50 per hour.

Negotiations also resulted in the parties agreeing to health insurance plan contribution changes that were effective March 1. The solid waste division employees have health insurance coverage through a teamsters plan, they are the only workers who aren’t covered by the BPU self-funded health benefits plan.

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