Rock Hill residents march to City Hall to protest high utility bills

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Demonstrators marched to Rock Hill City Hall on Monday afternoon with a goal of raising awareness about what they see as extremely high utility bills.

A group called Citizens for Change says bills that top $1,000 a month are common for people in low-income neighborhoods.

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The city of Rock Hill says that, in many cases, people live in older houses that are poorly insulated and not energy efficient, or run space heaters, which use a lot of power.

The officials say the issue is consumption, not high rates.

"Depends on how big your house is, how many people are home during the day, how old it is, what kind of heating and air system you have,” city spokesperson Katie Quinn said.

Those paying high bills say they want more transparency in the city's billing process and accountability for landlords who rent houses that aren't properly winterized.

“Even if you have the worst-insulated house, your bill shouldn't be a $1,000, $6,000, $4,000,” Rock Hill resident Cram Neely said.

The protesters are taking a stand against what they believe is unfair billing by the city.

"Nobody never took a stand like this. It's time for a change,” Neely said.

The city says that, in some cases, landlords don't keep homes energy-efficient and that leaves tenants struggling to pay high bills.

These marchers say the city should crack down on those landlords, too.

"Hold your people accountable,” Neely said. “Let these landlords know you have to make sure that this place is suitable for your tenant."

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