Petition for lower GRU rates attracts nearly 2,000 signatures
July 29, 2022
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Nearly 2,000 people have signed Angela Casteel’s petition, protesting the recent large Gainesville Regional Utility (GRU) bills received by many in the past few months.
GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham told the Gainesville General Policy Committee yesterday that the increases are due to multiple factors, including a hotter-than-usual June, increases in costs for natural gas, and longer cycles between meter readings because of a staff shortage. He said that GRU has extended the time period before services will be disconnected and is in the process of eliminating late fees, and customers who need help with their bills should call customer service at 352-334-3434. Customers who call customer service may learn that they’re eligible for various programs, including direct help from local nonprofits. Cunningham said that reducing use of electricity and water is the best way for customers to reduce bills.
Part of the problem is that as natural gas prices have risen, GRU’s fuel adjustment charge has risen from $0.03/kWh last September to $0.08/kWh for the June/July billing cycle. The fuel adjustment charge is now higher than the Tier 1 energy use charge of $0.0797, effectively doubling the price of electricity.
Casteel is hoping to fill the room for general public comment in the afternoon session of the Gainesville City Commission meeting on August 4 and also fill the room during the Utility Advisory Board meeting on August 11. Casteel said, “We are going to ask questions and try to make them understand that despite the rise in costs, it’s been shown that they have increased way more than other [utilities in Florida].”
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