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Higher utility bills raise consumers' anger level; companies blame it on cold weather

Staff Report • Dec 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The Bristol Herald-Courier is reporting that angry customers are giving Bristol Va. Utility customer service representatives an earful over the utility's price hikes just now showing up on utility bills.

Some are accusing BVU of price gouging, but utility officials are laying the blame on the weather.

Michael Browder, BTES president, is quoted in the story saying that while TVA’s rate increase is a factor in higher bills but not the most prominent. “Weather is the main culprit,” he said.

And Brian Bolling, BVU vice president of customer service, told the Herald-Courier that the National Weather Service has told the utility that November was the eighth-coldest on record for the area.

CLICK HERE for that report.

In a separate story John Shepelwich, spokesman for Appalachian Power, is quoted saying that the huge jumps customers are seeing in their electric bills are simply a matter of winter weather combined with a recent rate increase.

Shepelwich is also quoted saying sometimes it’s hard for consumers to make a direct connection between their usage and the cost because they don’t pay for electricity until after they’ve used it – but he encourages rate-payers worried about costs to learn to conserve.

CLICK HERE for the full report.

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