Residents cry foul about rising utility bills

Friday, October 24th 2008, 8:07 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

TECUMSEH, Okla. -- Unusually high utility bills have many Tecumseh residents crying foul.

Some bills are double the norm, others quadruple, and at least one bill is in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Residents have been visiting city hall trying to get their utility bills straightened out. Earlier in the week, the city had extra security on staff and with good reason.

"When I first opened that bill I almost fainted, I wasn't expecting that kind of bill," resident Wanda Hopper said.

Hopper said she's struggling to understand how the city of Tecumseh utility bill, which was $200 the previous two months, has jumped up to over $550, an increase of over a $300.

"That's almost half of my check and I can't pay that kind of a bill," Hopper said. "I think it's outrageous."

Hopper said she's shocked. Many resident said they saw an inflated number on their utility bill, including business owners like Tami Loyd. Loyd saw her businesses utility bill jump over $600.

"A salon does not use $885 in electricity alone," Loyd said.

Residents said they were told by the city the problem started when the city put in new electric meters that would no longer have to be read by hand, but by computers, but those computers they were told crashed.

Residents claimed the city has confessed to the mistake and are refunding residents who can prove they paid their previous bills, but not even that is working for everyone.

It's believed the computer problem and people's bills should be fixed by the end of the year.
The residents have to pay an additional $6 a month for the new meter system.