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Customers Cry Foul Over Doubled, Tripled Utility Bills

In many cases hundreds of dollars more are staring customers in the face on latest bills. The utility company insists however, they don't think there's anything wrong.
PIKE COUNTY, AR -- "Make sure you dress warmly."

That's the warning Church Elder, Glen Sweeden, of Saline Church of Christ in Pike County is giving his members for next Sunday.

It seems keeping the lights on is getting harder and harder. Their electric bill this month is nearly $700.

They have a pretty structured usage, keeping the heater on all week despite there being no one there. They do this to prevent mold from fluctuating temperatures.

But the church does this every month, and December's tally was a price for energy Sweeden's never seen before.

"Pretty well doubled," Sweeden said. "It's $355 last month and went to $698.06 this month."

The energy provider South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative (SCAEC) says this church isn't the only one complaining of a higher bill.

"We are aware and are seeing quite a significant increase in the value of the bills over the last 60 days," CEO Kevin Brownlee said.

Brownlee says the bill increase could be attributed to the cold weather and the seven more days on December's bill than November's.

"I'm not surprised by the high bill," he explained. "I am surprised by the social media outcry and the volume of calls."

His customers have let him know, but while he says there's likely not an issue, he wants them to know, the company empathizes with its customers.

"We are concerned too, and we want to be sure that we render a fair bill," he said. "We don't believe there's any problems, but we're checking."

In the meantime, Sweeden and his church will just have to dress warm and keep doing what they have for decades: depending on church member support and passing the plate for collection every Sunday.

There are free resources through SCAEC that customers can use if they are concerned about their bill. Click here for contact and additional information.

You can also contact the Arkansas Public Services Commission if you need someone to further look over your bill. That number is 501-682-1718 or 800-482-1164
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