Local News

Rocky Mount to see utilities rate increase

Posted January 28, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Some utility customers in Rocky Mount and other parts of Central and Eastern North Carolina will begin paying more for electricity next month when rates increase.

Last year, the board of directors for the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, which owns interests in five power units in the eastern part of the state, approved a 4 percent rate increase for its customers in 32 cities and towns, including Clayton, Smithfield, Selma, Wilson, Wake Forest and Louisburg.

Utility won't hold off on rate increase Utility won't hold off on rate increase

The increase is effective Feb. 1 and will cover higher operating costs and debt to Progress Energy for building power infrastructure in the area years ago.

The increase, however, has not come without a fight.

Ealier this week, leaders in Rocky Mount, which has bills 20 percent higher than the Triangle, passed a resolution urging the board to delay the hike until July and look for other ways to cut costs.

"Rates are increasing, prices are increasing, but people's salaries are not increasing," said City Council member Andre Knight, who introduced the resolution.

Delaying the increase, however, would not be fiscally responsible, according to Arthur Hubert, the board's interim chief executive officer.

Hubert said Wednesday that the group must increase rates now to cover required costs. Not doing so could mean higher rates in the future. State law also requires the hike since the North Carolina Utilities Commission has already approved it, he said.

But Hubert said the group is looking into other ways to save money, and pushing energy efficiency.

"There are ways to work with a consumer to help that consumer use less electricity," he said.

Still, Knight said he believes it is time to get other elected officials involved and get to the root of the problem. He is worried the bills will help drive the next financial crisis.

"Maybe looking at how we can restructure the debt or possibly even asking them for a bailout." Knight said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wimseydave Jan 28, 2009

    I am a RM native and used to work for CP&L and the NCEMPA. Unfortunately the contracts executed in the early 1980s followed by a decade of refinancing the debt by the NCEMPA (essentially just paying interest for ten years)pushed the original debt from just over $1B to over $3B. The Board of the NCEMPA is a good ole boy network of the 32 cities and towns. High paid salaries for the staff only make the problem much worse. Thankfully as a Progress Energy customer my electric rate is about five cents per KWH. My recommendation for the citizens of RM is to move to an area not served by the City of RM such as Nashville (Progress Energy) or north of the NC Wesleyan (NC Power) where the electric rates are much less. Second get rid of the City Manager. He is so involved and responsible for the high electric rates as well as the poor job recruitment record of the failed Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 28, 2009

    I feel your pain. We had a 10 percent increase hit at the end of last year. Only way to avoid it is to go off the grid, but that is not easy and it is expensive.

  • dink1977 Jan 28, 2009

    I am looking to find someone in the other county besides Rocky Mount to contact about the petition and to group counties together to fight to get rid of the electricities. Feel free to contact me at dink1977@suddenlink.net

  • Heavensent Jan 28, 2009

    These elected officials just don't get it. It seems as if they are going to do what they want regardless of people's financial situations. It's time to pull out of electricities. I detect greed and corruption.

  • dink1977 Jan 28, 2009

    I live in Rocky Mount and I have created a online Petition about (Lowering our Rates) Please view the petition and sign it. Here is the link to the petition. Rocky Mount Needs out of the Electricities....