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Friday, March 10, 2023

Resident says her retired mother is struggling financially due to Ocala’s high utility costs

To the Editor:

I read the recent letters about the rising prices of utilities as well as many other things we use in day-to-day living. My mom is retired and I am on disability. Last month, her electric bill (with City of Ocala Utilities) was $526.86, and her income is $934. That electric bill is more than half of her monthly income. She lives alone, turns off all the lights except for the room she is in (if needed), does not have a washer or dryer, and rarely uses her stove/oven.

When I called to ask about why it was so high, I was told that I should keep in mind that it includes water use and trash pick up, where other utility companies charge separately for these things. I am here to tell you that I have one of those other companies and do pay separately for these items, but my combined bills do not come anywhere near what my mom pays for utilities, and I regularly use a washer/dryer/stove.

My mom runs out of money every month, and the family has to buy her groceries and miscellaneous items. Again, I am on a fixed income myself so it is a real struggle. I looked back at her bills for the same time last year and see that the PCA charge has gone from $0.01400/kWh to $0.05600/kWh (that’s 4x as much as from a year ago), and water has increased from $0.00900/CF to $0.00970/CF.

Something has to give. We are sinking fast.

Sheryl Balogh
Ocala resident