When Provo residents get their utility bills this month, they might notice a 3 percent reduction if they look closely.
For the first time since March 1985, there will be no charge for "legal settlement." That charge, which averaged about $1.50, will appear as $0.00 until the current supply of stationary has been used.The "legal settlement" appeared on electrical bills after the city lost a lawsuit and had to pay a $1.5 million to an injured roofer. The man suffered electrical shock when he came in contact with a high-voltage power line. He was seriously injured and his arms were amputated.
Provo has been making payments on the settlement for 31/2 years through a 3 percent charge on electrical bills. The settlement now has been met, and Provoans will be just a little richer every month.
Mayor Joe Jenkins said the city was only in small part responsible for the accident, but the court ruled that Provo would have to pay the entire settlement.
Since that time, the Legislature approved a Governmental Immunity Act in 1986, making government agencies responsible only for their own liability percentage instead of the entire settlement.
Jenkins also lobbied the Legislature in January for passage of the Overhead Power Line Safety Act. It eventually was passed.
The act puts the responsibility on contractors and workers in the area of a high-voltage power line to contact the city to have the power turned off or to assist in providing proper safety precautions.