Power Bills...Off the Grid?

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -Record high temperatures, have meant record high power bills for Columbus customers.

[CG :2 LINE CGPatricia WebbGeorgia Power Customer]

"It was $239, that was the highest that it went, and that every month would be rough," says Georgia Power customer Patricia Webb.

Customers line up to pay bills at Georgia Power on Veteran's Parkway.

In fact, that location is the busiest office in the state.

Record temperatures and a recession aren't a good mix.

"People having a harder time paying their bills this summer than really we've had in a long time," says Georgia Power Customer Service Manager Robert Watkins.

Watkins says delinquencies are up 7% from the same time last year.

The company has also had more requests for payment plan alternatives and for energy audits.

"This is a 30 year high as far as temperatures in the Columbus area, so people that have been in their houses for a few years haven't seen a bill this high at all during the summer, they're really concerned about what they can do," says Georgia Power Energy Service Representative Miles Brooks.

The average bill this summer was $202, compared to the average year round of $120, that's a difference of more than $80.

"I went from $100 something to $200, $235, then $245, and my little job, it just ain't carrying it all right now," says customer Renata Washington.

According to Georgia Power, the hottest time was a 30 day period from July 15th to August 15th, but customers aren't quite finished paying for it.

"It was one of the hottest Septembers we've had in a long time, and we've had some days in October that were 91, fortunately the rate in October has gone down," says Watkins.

Relief can't come soon enough for Washington. She's worked out a payment plan, but is still struggling to pay.

"I have to pay $220 and my check was not that much so it's kind of hard"

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