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Under court order, Pasco utility hands over billing records

The former owners of Aloha Utilities have turned over financial records requested more than a year ago by state regulators investigating the company's past billings for streetlight services.

A Pasco judge last month ordered MMLJ Holdings, formerly Aloha Utilities, to turn over the documents within 30 days.

The Florida Public Service Commission had requested the information more than a year ago, after state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, questioned why Aloha Utilities had billed thousands of its west Pasco water and sewer customers for streetlight services as well.

At issue is how much Aloha charged: Since Aloha was not regulated as an electric utility, it could not sell the streetlight services at a profit. It could only pass along its own costs from Progress Energy.

If Aloha turned a profit on the streetlights, state regulators could require the company to give refunds to those customers.

Fasano said Tuesday that a lawyer for the commission had notified him that MMLJ had turned over a large pile of records. Commission staff members are now sifting through the paperwork.

Amid the investigation, former Aloha customers have reported they stopped getting streetlighting bills from MMLJ.

MMLJ's principals are Lynnda Speer, wife of HSN founder Roy Speer, and Stephen Watford.

The PSC began its inquiry in November 2009 and issued subpoenas last spring for these records. Aloha, which sold its water and sewer systems last year to a government coalition and now goes by the name MMLJ Holdings, had refused to provide the information.

Circuit Judge Susan Gardner ruled Dec. 3 that MMLJ must provide the requested documents within 30 days.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Under court order, Pasco utility hands over billing records 01/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 6:36pm]
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