NC Lawmakers Look At Steep Power Bills, City Debt

North Carolina lawmakers are preparing to put fresh sets of eyes on billions of dollars in debt that needs to be paid by towns and cities in the electricity business.

A new General Assembly committee convenes this week to look at a problem dating to the 1970s. More than 50 communities agreed then to borrow money to invest in power plants to ensure they had enough electricity.

Nuclear power plant costs combined with a changing energy picture placed a large financial burden on 32 eastern municipalities. Their citizens pay roughly 20 percent to 50 percent more on average compared to customers of traditional utilities.

Committee co-chairman Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson said a solution is needed to ease steep power bills and make eastern North Carolina more competitive economically.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Way Up Location: Farmville on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:54 PM
    Somebody needs to investigate the crooks at Farmville Utilities! The bills are almost as ridiclous as their excuses!
  • by jed Location: g-vegas on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:25 PM
    The decision to help finance construction of much needed electric generation made good sense at the time. NC would not have enjoyed the vibrant economy over the years had these cities not stepped up to the plate. I suggest apply a surcharge on every kilowatt sold from the generators the debt helped construct for five years to pay off the debt. Like it or not, if you live in NC you have benefitted from this debt.
  • by Farmville Location: Farmville on Oct 24, 2011 at 09:44 AM
    Well if the power bill goes up anymore in Farmville, they will have to hire more police officers! Farmville Utilities is ridicolous! They have to be running the biggest scam in Pitt County! It's time for new leadership and if that means cleaning out town hall, they can all go home! They always have a reason for high bills, heat, cold christmas lights, etc! Give me a break, it's just a bunch of crooks robbing us and it needs to stop! Farmville utilities has got to be the worst!
    • reply
      by has to pay it on Oct 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM in reply to Farmville
      yeah i've heard the same thing from the people in belhaven, at the time i didn't have electric heat ( i used a kerosene space heater) and now i sleep all day, wrapped up to stay warm. i'msure my little night light cost $450 a month to run
  • by Jack Location: belhaven on Oct 24, 2011 at 08:35 AM
    it is time to have the towns and cities to declare bankruptie the electric part and have the electric part be sold off (with it's debt). Taxes will go up in those towns but the electric bill will go down.
    • reply
      by Indie on Oct 24, 2011 at 09:37 AM in reply to Jack
      Jack, Bankruptcy is not an option here; the utilities ARE collecting enough revenues to service their debt. It's just that it is an inefficient and unfortunate use of capital.
  • by Indie Location: The Swamp on Oct 24, 2011 at 08:28 AM
    I think the people need to pay this debt off. Let this just be a lesson for the future. The future belongs to solar, with each building an independant contributor/taker to/from the grid. Your rate will depend on how much you contribute. Prices of solar have fallen dramatically in the past five years and will drop further as the technology continues to advance and more units are placed in serice (think abouth other electronics). Please, do not be pessimistic or skeptical (esp. you, Obama Snake Oil Co.) You must be pretty miserable doubting everything you hear and see. It is no good for your mental and physical health, and your misery will not help any problem that you rail about. This new era we are on the cusp of will simply be a matter of economics, whereby the older industries will simply slowly fade out and be replaced with the more efficient ones. Yes, politics will be involved in this new era just as they are in this one - that's just the way it is. We are all going to be OK
    • reply
      by Seriously on Oct 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM in reply to Indie
      You sound stupid. You pay it. They are already making it so that you can barely live. It makes no since having a utility bill that is just as high if not higher than your rent. And, responding to your future belonging to solar comment. The only reason why solar power is so cheap is because there is not a hot demand for it right now. The minute there is a demand for it, the price will sky rocket just like the electricity. How old are you. Obviously you don't pay any type of bill...especially a utility bill if you are talking like this.
      • reply
        by clint on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:03 PM in reply to Seriously
        Solar is not cheap it's more expensive and certainly is not economically feasible at this point. Some day maybe? Jeez Loueez. Neither one of you have a clue.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil co on Oct 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM in reply to Indie
      So are you an engineer? Do you maintain calculations to determine how much solar or wind we have to have to support our grid nationally? Ok, do you know how to google this information and look at the good and bad for uses of both? Then are you intelligent enough to make your own decisions or did the liberal media make it up for you already? Have you heard of Solyndra 533 million and bankrupt? How about SunPower, 1.2 Billion and failing? How about GE moving all the wind turbines to China for building there? Are you aware of this huge terd? Ever heard of die trying? Well, Obama will lose office over these scandals if they don't impeach him first. The supported him in his election. And Obama said "our utility bills would necessarity go up". Misterable doubting things, not hysterical point out fools and feeble minded people....like...ah....you.
  • by George Location: Greenville on Oct 24, 2011 at 06:04 AM
    I honestly think the bills should be paid in full. I know it's tough but enough is enough. Whatever happened to responsibility in this country?
    • reply
      by has to pay it on Oct 24, 2011 at 12:42 PM in reply to George
      then you step up and pay it, or make those who made the decision do it. i shouldn't have to pay for something that was done when i was still in diapers.
  • by Dwight Location: Greenville on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:13 AM
    Look, these cities entered an agreement years ago to pay this money back and now all of a sudden you want them to back out of their obligations? WRONG!! Your gonna pay that money you owe and that's final. There is no lowering of your electric bill, there is no other alternative unless you move. Other than that your gonna pay until all the money they owe is paid in full, point blank and PERIOD!
    • reply
      by has to pay it on Oct 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM in reply to Dwight
      how about we have the people that made the choices tht got us here pay it. it's sad when my light bill is higher than some mortgages. and believe me, nothing is on during that day except the heat or air, and a night light, as i work nights and sleep all day
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 24, 2011 at 02:34 PM in reply to has to pay it
        people never think that their homes may not be insulated well. I'm sure you don't have a fridge or ANY tv's plugged in either, right?
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2011 at 05:59 PM
    i would like witn to contact me. i sertanily can tell you many things about a municapality that controls electric service outside their joursdiction. i know!!!!! iretired from one! i could tell some things that would seratainly raise your eyebrows as to how local governments are run. you would be amazed at the total waste of taxpayers money. i know of one city that uses what the call the task system for their sanitation department. what this means is when a sanitation crew gets through thier route they can go home for the day. many of these crews work only 4 to 5 hours aday. the comerical crews work only an average of 2 to 3 hours a day. they all get paied 8 hours a day. another waste of our tax money!
    • reply
      by haha on Oct 24, 2011 at 04:08 AM in reply to
      $8 a day? Seems like a bargain to me! hahahahaha
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:34 AM in reply to haha
        Where did you read $8 a day??? Oh you didn't....I thought so.
        • reply
          by haha on Oct 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM in reply to
          You are right. The other errors made it an impossible read.
  • by 40some on Oct 23, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    Prime example of government trying to run things. What does some city manager know about how to run a utility?
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2011 at 05:30 PM
    any attourneys interested in this? its time for this monaply to come to an end. people in this area are having great difficulty paying their utility bills. they are forced to buy municapal power against thier will. the municapilitys use thir money to balance thier general fund and they have no vote on the usage of the funds that they have to pay!!!!!
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