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Green Cove Springs neighbors frustrated after utility rate hikes they can’t explain

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla — Action News Jax has been hearing from people living in Green Cove Springs who found their utility bills from January to be hundreds of dollars higher than usual.

Melinda Littles, a mom living and working in Green Cove Springs, says her bill went up $100.

“I opened it, saw it, put it back in the envelope, and sat it on the table,” Littles says.

Littles told Action News Jax she usually doesn’t see this kind of a jump in her utility bill and has no idea why it went up as much as it did.

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“It’ll get paid, it’s just a stressor I didn’t want to deal with and I wasn’t expecting it,” says Littles.

Sandra McDowell, who’s owned a home in Green Cove Springs for a year, had to pay more for January, too.

“I opened it and saw so many fees,” McDowell says, “it’s like, what is this for?”

Like many other homeowners in the area, Littles and McDowell pay utilities through Green Cove Springs Electric. Those bills include water, electricity, solid waste, and wastewater rates.

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Action News Jax called the city about why so many people saw bills go up. The city says it approved multiple utility rate hikes last fall, including:

  • 5% increase for electric and solid waste
  • 3% increase for water and wastewater

The city says those increases took effect on January’s utility bill. It also says cold weather last month pushed up the power bill.

“Several customers say their [power] consumption grew 50% from December to January,” says Jacob Williams, CEO of Florida Municipal Power Agency, which supplies Green Cove Electric with its power.

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Williams says the cost to move power into Green Cove Springs also went up in recent months, which impacts utility bills, but likely not enough for customers to notice.

“Let’s say you’re looking at an average bill of $120,” Williams says, “it would go up about $1.20.”

The city tells Action News Jax it expects utility rates to go up again this year, which would take effect on the January 2025 bill for customers.

McDowell says it’s too much pressure on her pocket.

“If we could get away from the city and Green Cove Electric, it would be easier,” McDowell says.

But Littles says it’s not enough to move away.

“I’m not going anywhere,” says Littles, “unless some miracle happens and I win the lottery or something.”

Green Cove Springs officials say conserving water and power use can keep your bills down. The city says you can find more information about electricity savings here, and more information about water savings here.

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