PELZER, SC (FOX Carolina) We've heard of sticker shock at the gas pump, but Pastor Curtis Johnson says it's now hitting mailboxes, in the form of Duke Energy bills.
"I'm thinking a couple $100 here and there, but when I'm starting to hear $800 and $900," Johnson said.
He's talking about Duke Energy bills and says church members, friends and strangers are asking for help.
"This cannot be acceptable," he said. He's the pastor at Valley Brook Outreach Baptist Church in Pelzer and says a home on the church's property that's rented has a high bill.
"That person's one month bill for January was $800," Johnson said.
He also showed us this bill for $700 a month, which totaled more than $1,400 dollars over two months, which included late fees and taxes.
"Some of these people are on fixed incomes," he says.
Administrators with Duke Energy say customers are getting January and February bills during a time when bills are usually higher than other months.
They say adjustments like opening blinds during winter months and having an HVAC system routinely serviced will help lower bills.
"I did execute some of those ideas and my bill came out lower- actually it did," Johnson said.
However, he and others are now also concerned about a proposed rate hike, which will be discussed during upcoming meetings in Greenville County Council chambers.
"Bring some bills bring your concerns," he said.
According to EQ Research, Duke's proposed $28 flat fee could lead to some of the highest rates in the country.
"It would put us at $336 a year before yo turn on any power whatsoever," Johnson said.
Even though there are some heated customers, Johnson wants them calm enough to express themselves.
Here is a list of Duke Energy meetings throughout the Upstate:
- Tuesday, March 12, 6 p.m. Spartanburg County Council Chambers, Spartanburg County Administration Building, 366 N Church St., Spartanburg, South Carolina 29303
- Wednesday, March 13, 6 p.m. Anderson County Council Chambers, 101 S Main Street, Anderson, South Carolina, 29624
- Thursday, March 14, 6 p.m. Greenville County Council Chambers, 301 University Ridge, Greenville, South Carolina 29601