Gainesville residents ask FL lawmakers to push for state auditing of GRU

Residents feel the “unstable rates” and “incorrect billing” call for this
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 7:25 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville residents are reaching beyond city leaders to state lawmakers to try to change Gainesville Regional Utilities.

FL Sen. Jennifer Bradley, Rep. Chuck Clemons, Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, and Rep. Chuck Brannan held a legislative delegation hearing today, two months before the start of the session.

Gainesville resident Angela Casteel spearheaded this ask. She’s become a spokesperson for residents struggling to pay their GRU bills.

“It’s meant the world, because I’ve seen the residents in my community that I live in, the elderly, struggling to pay their bills. I’ve seen single parents struggling to pay their bills,” she said.

Casteel is asking the team of legislators to perform an audit, where they’d request Florida Public Service Commissioners to open a docket.

That department ensures Floridians receive utility services at fair prices.

In her letter to lawmakers, Casteel suggests the Public Service Commission should order GRU to correct the “rate structure inequities” and report back to the PSC annually.

Casteel said she’s in a unique situation as a GRU customer.

“We live outside the city limits and we don’t have a voice to be able to vote for the city commission who votes for our rates.”

Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson said she thinks auditing GRU could be a good thing.

“I think audits are great. In fact I used to, as a city commissioner, see I come from that place, I think our audits were too superficial and I do believe we need a deep dive into audits.”

Discussion on GRU was not on the agenda at this delegation hearing, but residents like Casteel, and Nathan Skop, a community activist and former Commissioner on the Florida Public Service Commission, felt the issue was too important to not bring up to lawmakers.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.