Making Progress?

Complaints are pouring in and now, city officials are putting a few options on the table to persuade a power company to better assist area residents.

Customers in Perry say they're tired of paying their Progress Energy bills at the local check-cashing place.

Derrill Thigpen, a Progress Energy customer in Perry says, "You have to drive up there then you have to give them your information and your account number. They charge you $1.65 or $2.00 to pay your bill. That's an inconvenience to me, costing me more."

Doug Everett, a member of the Perry City Council says, "After responding to some of their concerns, we looked into our actual franchise agreement that we signed with Progress Energy for our community and found that Progress Energy is in violation."

Progress Energy Florida is in contract violation by closing its local office back in 2003. The council has been looking into breaking its franchise agreement with the energy company, or becoming its own municipal power agency.

"You would wind up buying power through whoever, whatever sources of electricity. You would lease infrastructure or purchase infrastructure; that infrastructure being power lines, transformers, trucks, and all the components,” explains Everett.

The city council says it would've settled for a representative to be in town at least twice a week.

However, that has not happened. So for now, the 6100 Progress Energy customers in Taylor County have to continue relying on an 800 number for customer service and the phone and check cashing stores to pay their bills.

City officials have spoken with Progress Energy. Both parties say they believe they can soon come to a resolution to better serve the community.