With the highest residential electricity rates in Florida, Gainesville residents saw a $6 average increase in their electricity bills last October.
The cost won’t be going down any time soon, and many are upset about it.
Eastside Gainesville resident Tina Days shared her experiences with Gainesville Regional Utilities rates at Thursday’s commission meeting. Days, a single mother, mentioned how difficult it is to keep up with the increases while also raising three daughters.
“So I had to tighten my budget. I can’t spend like I want to spend, and why is it OK for the City Commission to spend?” Days said. “They want to spend because it’s our money. It’s not their money.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the 6% projected increase in electric rates in 2020, GRU has resumed its plan for future cost increases.
In October, GRU’s rates for electric, water and wastewater rose by 4%. That number will go up from 2023 to 2027 while the commission plans to reduce the General Fund Transfer, or GFT, rate by $2 million annually.
The GFT consists of GRU revenue that pays for a variety of city government services. These include the Gainesville Police Department, Gainesville Fire Rescue and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
Days and Dr. Mark Goldstein, the former mayor of Gainesville, say they believe the solution to reducing electric rates is by electing new people onto the commission.
“For 100 years we had five members, and that’s a very important difference because what happens with seven members is you get factions…Some make a deal behind the scenes with the administrator to do the right thing. Others disagree,” Goldstein said.
The next general election for city commission seats is in November. For more information about the election visit VoteAlachua.com.