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Proposed utilities increase angers Quincy residents

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By Angye Morrison

A proposed utilities increase has some Quincy residents seeing red.

Southeastern Power Administration, the source of part of Quincy’s utilities, has advised City Manager Jack McLean of a proposed new rate schedule, effective Sept. 20, if it is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The new schedule is designed to replace wholesale power rate schedules for a 5-year period, with a 70 percent increase, according to McLean.

The increase would force the city’s monthly utility payment from $140,000 to $238,000. Over a 5-year period, that would be a total increase of $98,000, or $19,600 per year.

SEPA officials said the need for the increase is due to the drought over the past several years, which has decreased the generation capacity of its plant. The drought, coupled with increasing fuel prices, will make the increase necessary, officials said.

McLean said he, along with other city of Quincy staffers, has a multitude of questions, which must be answered before any response to the notification from SEPA or any decision regarding rates for Quincy residents can be made.

Television reports over the past couple of days regarding the proposed hike has angered local residents. Some have called the Times office or stopped by to express their anger and ask what the facts are.

The television reports were that SEPA will increase the rates 82 percent, which is not what SEPA’s notification to the city of Quincy stated. The TV reports also did not state that the rate hike is a proposal, and has not been approved.

A forum is planned for April 23 at the Marriott in Tallahassee to discuss this issue.

In this economy, every penny counts. We want to hear what you think. If you are a Quincy resident and you have an opinion regarding a possible utilities rate hike, give us a call at 627-7649 or e-mail us at editor@gadcotimes.com.