Some Morganton residents to pay $400 up front to get power
MORGANTON, N.C. —
Just to get power in a local city some people now have to pay $400 up front.
The cost recently doubled and now people in Morganton are so upset that they started a petition to scale back that increase.
Eyewitness News on Tuesday explained why some people are paying more than others.
The mayor said the city is averaging about $300,000 a year in losses from people not paying their power bills, but those fighting the decision said the utility deposit is so high some can't afford to get their power turned on.
Aziz Omer showed Eyewitness News the stack of nearly 2,000 signatures that he has collected opposing the deposit hike on utilities.
For someone with no credit or poor credit, they can expect to now pay $400 instead on $130 to get their electricity turned on.
"All groups of people would be affected by this extreme amount. Most people say they are barely getting by," said Omer.
Omer is not alone – people paying their bills on Tuesday at City Hall aren't sure how they could come up with that much money.
"I personally wouldn't be able to pay anything like that. I mean having kids and stuff like that deposit, it is ridiculous," said resident Alexis Tucker.
But city leaders said they have not increased the deposit fee in nearly two decades and the amount for someone with great credit is $190 and $300 for those with good credit.
Those who own property don't have to pay either.
"We run a business in our electric department just like the state mandates us to. I must tell you it is very fair. It is even with another gas company and electric company," said Mayor Mel Cohen of Morganton.
The city said they will give the deposit back if a person pays their bill on time for a year.
But resident Montgomery Lowery said the local economy is so bad the decision for such a large increase is hurts.
"Seems like you are trying to make it harder on people who can't survive now," said Lowery.
Organizers of the petition plan on giving it to city leaders next week at their council meeting. Eyewitness News was told they will suggest an increase to $260 instead of $400.