Jackson County Times

Top Story News

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“We’re Mad AS Hell And We’re Not Gonna Take It Any More”!!

By Sid Riley

Huge crowd of FPU customers protest at Marianna City Commission Meeting

That famous line from the movie “Network” was the message being delivered to the Marianna City Commission on Tuesday evening by a huge crowd of angry FPU customers. They were all protesting record increases in their home utility bills. The standing room crowd filled the meeting room and outer hallway, with some unable to even get in the building.

They were angry, but they realized that the City and the Commission actually has little control over what is charged by the utility. Essentially they were pleading with the Commission to help them approach anyone, anywhere that might offer them some relief. It was difficult to hear their pleas and not be touched. One woman said she lived on $800 per month, and her electric bill was $600. Another said her electric bill was larger than her social security check. Others told of being cut off by FPU and then being forced to pay huge reconnect/deposit penalties.

One woman who worked with a charity told of giving blankets out to the homeless living in a camp in the woods, and she says the numbers of people locally who are in that condition is increasing. Another social worker told of the many people who live in subsidized housing who will lose their house if they can not provide electricity to it as a requirement of the government….and they can’t pay their bill.

Mrs. Dianna Kapoto who works with the Salvation Army stated that their organization has not yet been funded by FEMA, but would be able to help qualified families when they get the funds.

Lori North – “Jackson County does not have the charitable organizations in place which are needed to help these people. How can people living in a 600 sq. ft. government provided apartment get a $1000 power bill?”

Roberta Walker – “I am old, and I have a $1100 power bill…I can’t survive.”

Sherry Oliver – “My bill was $1158! You can’t let one company put us all in the poor house!”

Randy Williams – “My bill used to be $150 -$200…now it is over $700! You have to go to the state, go to the Governor, do something to help us! This will have a domino effect on our lives. We won’t be able to buy food, medicine, pay our other bills!”

Mrs. Wright – “I work with the Catholic Charities. The number of homeless in Marianna is significantly increasing. Some have already lost their homes. Additionally, FPU is charging low income areas higher deposits than they are charging in other areas. It isn’t fair. They can’t pay $800 deposits!

Beverly Murdock – “The City Commission, County Commission, and the People need to unite and all go to Tallahassee and stage a protest. We need to make our condition known. We also need to protest against Gulf Power.”

J.B. Rayburn – “I have seen 72 winters, and many were much worse than this one. Our power company didn’t rob us during those cold periods. These ‘fat cats’ just don’t care. I am concerned for my grandchildren. If their safety and health is in jeopardy, you can bet I’ll be doing something about it!”

Phoebe Simms – “When we went to FPU they told us to come to the City Commission! Why isn’t anyone from FPU here?”

Daryl Roulac – “Many people only make $600-$700 per month. How can they afford a $500 per month power bill? I know one woman who has several small kids….and they cut her power off in this cold weather!”

Marsha Furr – “I am manager at Marianna Village Apartments. How can people living in a 600 sq. ft. government provided apartment get a $1000 power bill?”

(We apologize for any misspelled names….it was impossible to confirm them in the crowded room.)

The Commissioners did their best to respond to the needs of the crowd. They are going to attempt to organize a workshop type meeting with the County Commission, prepare joint letters of concern for FPU, the Florida Public Service Commission, and perhaps the Governor.

Commissioner Roberts made the point that the PSC allowed Gulf Power to increase their charges to the area utilities in order to pay for $500,000,000 “scrubbers” the EPA made them install to reduce emissions. Thus, perhaps the real culprit in this dilemma is the “green” movement.

Many of the bills which created this public outrage were for December, which did NOT include the latest 13% increase granted to FPU by the PSC, or most of the cold weather we experienced in early January. There is a good chance their bills will be even higher for January…the new bills will be out within a few days.


  1. Im glad everyone is finally standing up to these fricken money grubers!

  2. Who gives a crap about the green movement. Just another way for Obama to suck more money out of everyone along with the health reform bill

  3. Unfortunately, by the time anyone gets off their posterior to stop this travesty, many of us will have lost our homes. If someone were trying to turn northwest florida into a ghost town, or just a haven for the wealthy, they would be hard pressed to find a better way to do it.

  4. Ever-one is talking about these high bills, If we don't pay we all will end up in the darkand lose our deposits, and if we do pay we get robbed. So can some-one tell us what we need to do. Other than move out of FPU's district.?