Rock Hill utility bills soar; neighbors pack city council meeting

Some Rock Hill residents are fed up over unexplained skyrocketing utility bills. They packed Monday night’s city council meeting to express their frustration, and ask for change.

“My light bill shouldn't be $650 and my rent $650,” one woman said. “I'm supposed to feed my babies. The struggle is real.”

When it comes to keeping utility rates competitive, some feel like Rock Hill City Council is switched off.

“I hope they get a better understanding and aren't as dismissive as they have been in the past,” said Kristal Jennings.

Neighbors say their utility bills are getting out of hand, and they’re struggling to keep up with the payments.

“If you on a fixed income, and your light bill is $600, which is more than your mortgage or your rent, how are you going to survive?” asked Rhonda Moore.

“This is what we dealing with,” yelled Jennings as she held up her bill. “This is not a game!”

People were charged. They brought their voices and their bills. Some bills, including the previous balance, amounted to over $700.

“Light bill $350,” one woman stated. “I don't run nothing but a stove and a refrigerator. Now you tell me there's not something wrong with that.”

What they’d like is a little more competition; one man expressed he’d like to see it privatized.

“They don't make electricity; they sell electricity,” said Cran Neely. “They pretty much [the] middle man, and it's a million dollar company,” he continued, “and if you ever have a problem, only person you can talk to is customer service.”

Some say they know getting results could take a while, but they’re passionate about getting the meter to give them a break.

Rock Hill utilities is a municipally owned system. The city website says “As your hometown utility connection, Rock Hill is committed to providing superior service to our customers - the owners of our electric system. You have control over how our public power utility serves the community. Public power utilities like Rock Hill offer unique benefits such as competitive rates, personal service and local control.”