PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) – Piggott residents have seen a significant hike in their electric bills. According to Utility Director Brian Haley, before 2006 the city of Piggott was getting their energy from Jonesboro at four cents a kilowatt hour. When the city moved to a long-term provider Plum Point Energy, out of Osceola, the rates doubled to eight cents a kilowatt hour.
"For us to prepare for future needs we had to do something," said Haley. "We're a public power community we provide the cheapest amount of energy to our customers as we can."
Over the past five years the rates have increased to 12 cents a kilowatt hour, which is around the same rate as what the surrounding companies charge their customers.
"They're high now with all the different changes and mandates that we're required to follow, but the plum point power station is the most economical option for us at this time," said Haley.
However, those much larger utility bills are due to energy consumption.
"When we bought into the Plum Point Energy station you could start to see the rates rise," said Haley. "We were half a cent higher this year than we were this time last year, but if you look at some of the bills the difference is the consumption and they just used a lot more."
Haley said it's not unusual for this time of year for bills to rise. He even experienced a higher bill himself.
"I have a heat pump at home and I have three children, and my bill was $575 this month," said Haley.
Resident, William Kast, said his $900 bill is too much, especially with a 10 percent added late fee.
"There's so many people on fixed income in Piggott, that it's crushing them to have to make choices on what they're going to pay for," said Kast.
Haley said they're in the works to accommodate and make some changes.
"We're working towards some areas that we think may be able to reduce some costs," said Haley.