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Durant electric bills skyrocket

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DURANT, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Residents of Durant say they are paying outrageously high electric bills, and that some have skyrocketed hundreds of dollars in just one month.  They say there's no way to pay up before the lights and heat are cut off. 

One resident who received a $285 bill in December saw a $814 bill in January, and that was just one example.

"People do not have that type of money, nobody has that type of money in Durant," said one customer.

"I have a 3 bedroom trailer, 2 bath trailer and mine usually run $240-$250.00 this month it's $500.00," another customer told us.

Accountant Teresa Chism says unless bills are paid to the city in three weeks, it's lights out.

It's all blamed on rising fuel costs. Interestingly enough, we found Durant city minutes showing tens of thousands of dollars transferred out of the electric fund in October and November to pay other expenses. A retirement fund included.

"Right here, they moved $65-thousand from the electric fund to the general fund," said Chism. 

Durant Municipal Utilities is not regulated by the state Public Service Commission. They bill the city of Durant and the cost is passed onto residents.

The Mayor told us she had a very busy schedule and was not available for comment. During our brief phone conversation, she said no residents had complained to her they could not pay their electric bills. 

She also blamed it on a fuel increase by the utility and said it's out of her hands. 

I attempted to contact MEAM, the Municipal Entergy Association of Mississippi about the high bills.  The executive director was unavailable.

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