Fairfield, IL residents outraged by high utility bills - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Fairfield, IL residents outraged by high utility bills

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Another fallout from our cold winter- high heating bills. 

Customers in Fairfield, Illinois say their bills are too high and they've even started a Facebook page in protest.

Several residents 14 News spoke with on Monday say their utility bills are double or even triple what they normally are. We've even heard one bill being close to $900.

Now, some of those residents are wondering how they will be able to pay their other bills.

"I've lived in the same place for seven years. The highest bill I've ever had in a winter month is $350. This month is $404," said Debra Halfacre.

Halfacre is disabled and lives on a fixed income. She has multiple sclerosis and gets by on a monthly disability check.

"I just got my check today. It's $489. So when I pay this utility bill, that's going to leave me $85 to live off of for one month," Halfacre said. "I was crying earlier." 

That has her a little scared.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," she told 14 News.

Halfacre isn't the only resident with a large bill this month. The Mayor of Fairfield, Charles Griswold, has spoken with several residents about the matter, and even looked up several bills to see if the calculation was wrong.

"Their electric usage quadrupled. This one, who was quite vocal, they're electric usage tripled and their gas usage doubled," he said.

Griswold says there have been 44 days over the past two months that were colder than a year ago. He says that's been the main reason why residents have seen a larger energy bill.

"The fact that we haven't raised our utility rates since March of 2011, I'm not sure the city is the culprit here. The culprit is the weather," Griswold told 14 News.

Many residents say they are not allowed to have a payment plan and must pay them in full. However, Mayor Griswold says they have been offering payment plans to those who can't afford the bills right now.

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