Newberry Mayor Marlowe and business owner speak on move to temporarily end power disconnections

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Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT
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Newberry, Fla. (WCJB) - The city of Newberry is waving fees and ending disconnections for most who use the city’s utility service.

City officials announced Tuesday that the move was made because the rate stabilization fund had ran out. The fund primarily helps the city keep utility fees low during months with high heat. Customers who owe less than $500 are eligible.

“This was a small gesture, we understand that there is pain at the pump pain at the grocery counter. We don’t want you to feel that you have to be concerned that its 100 degrees outside and come home and your power is turned off or you water is turned off,” said Mayor Jordan Marlowe.

RELATED STORY: GRU blames “heat and high gas prices” for steep rise in utility bills

Around 2,000 customers use the utility, while others in the city use Clay Electric, Duke Energy, or other electric services. According to the Mayor, a vast majority of the city’s utility customers qualify.

“That $500 dollar mark will cover 85% of residents, The city of Newberry still with those rising costs is able to provide some of the lowest energy around,” said the Mayor.

Cecilia Njeru runs West End Pharmacy in Newberry, she like many others in the city, county and around the country has seen her light bill soar.

“Yes, I’ve seen my light bill go up and I’m just like what do I do? I have to keep my customers comfortable,” said Njeru.

On top of keeping her customers comfort in mind, she must keep many of the medication in her possession at the right recommended temperature.

“We cannot just turn the air off when we leave. Some of the medications, most of them have guidelines, 76 or 77 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Njeru.

It’s not just a decision that has been made in one Alachua County Town. The Jacksonville Energy Authority, or JEA, announced the same decision on Tuesday.

As of right now, the brief pause in fees and disconnections is not a permanent one. The city announced the grace period will last through Sep. 30.

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