Friday, July 23, 2010

CFPUA oversteps authority threatening customers with police enforcement

As a result of a major water main break, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a number of emergency alerts on July 23rd. The 8pm alert threatened customers with police enforcement for violation of their mandatory water restrictions. The alert read “New Hanover County and Wilmington Police will be helping with enforcement.” Problem is, the CFPUA is claiming police powers they don’t have.

In conversations we had with law enforcement, they stated they’d not be enforcing any CFPUA codes, quite frankly, that it was not their job. Their job is dealing with crime, not whether or not someone was watering their yard or washing their car.

To be specific, law enforcement officials said they would not be responding to any to calls regarding enforcement of CFPUA codes. CFPUA Code enforcement was the responsibility of the CFPUA employees, not the Wilmington Police Department or the New Hanover County Sheriffs department.

When a local afternoon radio talk show broadcasted the CFPUA police enforcement threat it solicited a number of calls. Many callers questioned the CFPUA’s ability to use police to enforce its codes.

It’s clear the CFPUA overstepped its authority by using the threat of police enforcement to scare customers into compliance. It is problem when this Authority starts making claims and threatening customer with police action, something they have no authority to do.

Bottom line, this is a serious violation of public trust and someone at the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority should be held accountable.