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Petition for lower GRU rates attracts nearly 2,000 signatures

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].”

  • Its not just fuel cost how about cutting in 1/2 the amount that the city of Gainesville takes every year from GRU buying the Bio plant was to reduce rates that didn’t happen it’s time to let another power company come in and take over

    • They are doing more estimating than actual reading. I was recently billed for an additional 1500 kWh this month that I should’ve been billed for last month. One month of cheap services and one month that you can’t afford to pay. I am reading my meters on a daily basis now to monitor what they are doing. I plan to complain to BBB about their business practices.

    • Yes, waaay past time to basically give it away to FOL, Duke, or any org willing to take it and assume most of the debt with ZERO annual transfer to the city. The city can live on their own decreased budget by cutting out all this extreme amount of research and labor cost of looking into things that are bad ideas (like the broadband fiasco where $200,000 was wasted on one idiot commissioner’s dream). Stop the insanity and madness and just ONLY provide regular accepted gov services, not every nutty thing you can look up that some extreme gov official tried elsewhere (free trips for abortion – good grief!). Sell/Give away GRU NOW!

  • Let alone the fact that they have been making estimates during their staff shortage, which has increased bills across the board. When you’re billed for an additional 1500kwh because your meter wasn’t read correctly that’s a major problem!

  • Call GRU and ask for an extension on my bill ended up with an “added security deposit” of 300$ being placed on my account because of my payment history. In 18 months I was passed the due date 1 time and that was the bad payment history that resulted in me having to pay the security deposit.
    So you telling your customers to reach out for options, when they do you hit them with a security deposit. It’s pretty obvious they reached out because they needed a little more time to pay but instead of helping you knock them while they are down and add additional money to a bill they already can’t afford.. 🙄🙄🙄😡😡😡 I only needed more time because I was sick out of work unpaid for a week and then was involved in an auto accident and had to pay my deductible to get my car back working so I could go back to work as well. No public transportation comes to the area in which I live. Way to go GRU!!

  • Class Action Lawsuit , City of Gainesvile Commsioners and GRU need Law and Order and a Real Audit,

    • Throw the nuts out of office first, evetif it means a Maxine Waters type confrontation of the idiots so they voluntarily step down.

  • Change needed utility bills just too high with no explanation, I called GRU and the representative couldn’t tell me why my bill was high increase $200 last month the same haven’t done anything different in my apartment.

  • your just paying the “unicorn fart” hidden surcharge for all green energy production.

    • Bingo. That “unicorn fart” is the CO2 emissions that they say is causing
      Global warming. You can thank former Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan for foisting GRU to comply with Kyoto Protocol and go biomass boondoggle…if they want all battery cars by 2030, we’ll be needing nuclear to meet demand.

      • Senor Poe also voted for the biomass plant as a regular commissioner at the time. Now Ward and Lying Hyphen-Hayes think it’s the greatest “renewable” resource in the state although it takes over 100 years to renew the trees cut down that burn up in a few seconds with smoke, ash and massive CO2 release 24/7.

        • Even Obama’s energy plan nixed biomass. Ever wonder why nobody builds them now? Our sister plant in TX (built by the same rip-off artists) was shuttled, then torn down and sold for scrap metal. Good thing is , they only had a 20 year contract whereas Gainesville was stupid enough to go 30 years!!! Buying it at $750 million at variable interest was another huge mistake. Renewable? BS!!! The only thing renewable is the stupid mistakes the city commission makes!

  • Simply eliminate newer programs and related positions added since biomass purchase. Not hard to figure out.

  • 2 things at a quick glance.
    The blended rate on the bill screen shot is 20 cents per kWh (total $ / kWh) That’s REALLY high. Look at the prices reported across the country for comparison: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/pdf/table6.pdf
    Second, the longer meter reading cycles (on the bill shown above, 34 days) means more electricity will be used in the more expensive tier for kWh over 850 kWh. That’s a windfall for the utility. The tiered structure should be prorated for cycles over 30 days. I don’t doubt there’s a struggle to hire meter readers but GRU should have installed smart meters years ago. However, that wasn’t possible because they were wrestling with the BioMess.

  • Much higher than FPL. Sounds like greed on behalf of the city commission is raising the rates.

  • Well…well…well….looks like some of the electorate has finally caught on to the GRU profits for our liberal city causes has gotten the attention it should have been. Now…the pain is getting REAL and we have only our stupid non voting electorate. Now watch how they maneuver to cost shift even MORE over to their paying customers so they can subsidize for the low income. Now bend over and pay….pay…pay until you wake up and vote for conservative management.

  • GRU is a public utility and answers to the city commission. Need I say more? We’re getting what the majority of the city voted for. If the voters in Gainesville demand better city commissioners, and by better, I mean god-fearing, biblically-minded people who understand the proper role of government, then we will have better outcomes.

  • Get rid of the commission and put in people who care about what is important. They have become dead to the concept of service.

  • The city commission should not be running the electric company, and poorly at that. We have the highest rates in Florida

  • I’m not voting for anyone now sitting on the commission. GRU rates are ridiculously high and it seems the commission isn’t doing enough to keep rates under control.

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