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10/09/2008 ~ The Utility Board unanimously voted to keep the Big Pine Key Customer Services Center open during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 8th.

During the Fiscal Year* 2009 Strategic Planning session, the Utility Board directed Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) staff to conduct an analysis of the Big Pine Key Customer Services Center and to determine if, and how, KEYS could provide similar customer services, currently provided at the Center, to customers in the northern-most region of KEYS’ service area.

“After a thorough analysis, KEYS’ staff determined closing the Center was the most viable option and would save the Utility approximately $250,000 per year in operating expenses,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. She added that, “after hearing staff’s input at the regular Board meeting on September 10th, the Board decided to seek input from KEYS’ Advisory Committee before making a final decision on the future of the Center.”

At the regular meeting of the Advisory Committee on Tuesday, September 30th, the issue of closing the Big Ping Key Customer Services Center was discussed and voted on.

In a memo from Advisory Committee chairman Henry Hamilton, to the Utility Board, he stated that, “the Committee thought it was important to balance the financial needs of the utility with public relations/customer service needs.” He went on to add that, “in a 4-1 vote, the Advisory Committee stated, based on the utility’s finances and the current economic conditions, they would recommend that the Utility Board close the Big Pine Key Customer Services Center.”

The Utility Board approved the creation of the Advisory Committee in 1998 under the auspices of providing the Board and KEYS’ staff with community input on various issues related to the Utility.

Taking the recommendations of KEYS’ staff and Advisory Committee in to account, the Board decided it was in the best interest of the Utility to keep the Center open.

“The cost savings do not justify cutting the services our Big Pine Key Center offers to our Lower Keys customers,” said Lou Hernandez, Utility Board Chairman.

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 8th, in the Louis Carbonell Board Room of the William Arnold Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

*KEYS’ Fiscal Year runs from October 1st to September 30th

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