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EMC customer charge would burden members

This is in regards to articles in the Towns County Herald Jan. 23, and Feb 20, by Blue Ridge Mountain EMC Director Jeremy Nelms stating his proposal before the EMC board to increase the customer fee in increments to $40 per month and decrease the electric kwh cost. This plan is to shift the cost of operating the EMC from the high power users (mostly commercial) to the homeowner who uses a small amount of electricity. For example, a homeowner using 1,000 kwh a month would have their customer charge raised to $40 per month while a usage of 220,000 kwh or more per month would stay at $75 per month. This is simply wrong to shift this cost from the have’s to those (many) who are retired, living on a fixed income and struggling to meet their financial costs of the necessities of life: food, clothing shelter and health care. 

Towns County has the highest percentage in the state of citizens age 65 and over and is among the counties with the highest percentage (50 percent) of public school students on reduced cost of meals, which is based on their family income. 

Let me point out to the EMC board members that the members they represent in the other EMC counties of Union, Fannin, Clay and Cherokee have similar demographics on age and income. 

A Towns County friend checked with his sister living in Tennessee who is getting her electricity from the same TVA. 

She pays $11.71 customer charge per month and our EMC is charging $21.37, almost double. She also pays less per kwh. Our EMC customer charge has increased almost 50 percent over a six-year period from 2012 to 2018. Our EMC members have not received one-third as much of an increase in their wages, salary or retirement. 

One lady I talked with was very distressed. She and her daughter each have a meter. She works two jobs trying to make financial ends meet. This increase would mean the customer charge plus 7 percent tax for one year for the two of them will be $1,027.20 plus the cost of the electricity they use. I urge you to not shift this financial burden from those that have plenty to those living on a fixed income. 

I appreciate the time and courtesy shown by Towns County EMC Board Members and Director Nelms in listening to my concerns and request that they not follow through with this plan. 

Clay County Progress

Mailing Address: PO Box 483, Hayesville, NC 28904
Physical Address: 43 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-8431
Fax: 828-389-9997