Tallahassee Residents Rally City Hall Over Rising Utility Bills

Residents came armed with power bills demanding answers. Students, single parents and seniors all had experienced 20 to 30 percent increases and all wanted to know why the big bills.

More than 100 Tallahassee residents packed a small room ready to discuss a big issue.

Melinda Harris is just one of the dozens upset over rising utility bills.

"Single mother I have one daughter leave before 7:30 no one there until nine at night using the utilities, last month 508 this month 514," says Melinda Harris, utilities customer.

Alongside Melinda stand students struggling to come up with the cash to pay their tuition, not to mention their power bills.

Backed by county Commissioner Bill Proctor, these residents want an independent audit of all utility operations and an immediate roll back of electric rates. Some even accuse the city of charging some residents more than others.

Mayor Marks says the city says it’s time for others to step up and help out.

"I was specifically talking about the county. Maybe they can provide some energy assistance money. We provided $3.2 million in assistance, be good if the county provide funds," says Mayor John Marks, City of Tallahassee.

Commissioner Bill Proctor says the city receives all the profits from the utilities. The county gets nothing. The group presented Mayor John Marks and Commissioner Andrew Gillum with a list of concerns including the audit, and they also want an independent citizens’ utility review board.

There was also talk of using coal to fuel the city, since natural gas is the primary source now, but in 1992 residents voted down a referendum to build a coal plant.The downside is now people are paying for that decision in rising gas prices.