INVESTIGATION: Why some are seeing a high utility bill despite shutting off services

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield City Utilities explained why some local business owners may be seeing a high bill even while customers were ordered to stay home.

Local business owner, Brian Sestak, posted on Facebook saying he received a high utility bill in the month his business was shut down even though he turned off his gas and electricity

“To see a bill that was $334, when our previous bill the month before was 500 and about 30, 40 dollars,” said Sestak. “With everything around us, we’re a 24-hour operation, so our lights are always on, TVs are always on. So to see such a minimal reduction in cost when we didn’t use any electricity at all was just stunning.”

Joe Alexander, with Springfield City Utilities, says this bill is higher because of a service charge. A service charge is the price it costs to make utilities available and have the proper equipment in place.

This applies to everyone, so even if a home or business shuts everything down, there is still a charge for having the equipment in place.

“The other way that could’ve been done would be to completely disconnect from the utility, but the cost of coming back in and reconnecting would’ve probably been about a higher charge than what that monthly service charge or demand charge is,” said Alexander. “So really even though they probably shut off all their services and didn’t use any or very minimal amounts of electricity, water or gas, based upon the type of service they’re getting, the number of meters they have, there will be a charge for that.”

At the end of May, if a customer can’t afford to pay their utility bill, the company won’t disconnect any services.

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