Lubbock citizens struggling with their electric bills saw a sign of hope yesterday after the Electric Utility Board recommended that the $30 payment plan setup fee be suspended for 90 days.
The city council will vote on the topic at next week's meeting.
We reached out to the council on Thursday and have heard from five of them so far.
Victor Hernandez, Floyd Price, Todd Klein, Karen Gibson and Mayor Robertson all support the recommendation. Council members Latrelle Joy and Jim Gerlt could not be reached for comment.
LP&L customer Wendy Clason is one of those affected by the payment plan fee. She is on disability and spends a large portion of her income each month on medication, medical treatment and food. High LP&L bills make that situation even more difficult.
"My last bill jumped $30. That doesn't seem like much for a lot of people but my bill was like $45 a month and now it's like $70. When I spend $100 on medication, that's a big deal," she said. "My grandmother, she lives here - her bill doubled. She's on Medicare and she's 83 years old, so for her, that's her lunch for the month."
Wendy was at the food bank when we spoke with her. She pulled her car up and loaded a few boxes and bags of drinks into her car. Supplies that will need to last her a little while.
"We don't watch TV we are in the dark starting at 4 or 5 in the morning. The air conditioner is set at 80, you don't want to open the windows. I'm going to bed early," she said. "I can only put so much gas in my car a week and that's being cut off. I have physical therapy three times a week and I only get to go to the doctor and that it. There's no relaxation, there's no time with my family and things like that. I just have to sit at home."
Her most recent bill was $102 and when she went to set up a payment plan that fee was 1/3 of her total bill. That's why she is in favor of suspending the fee, but she wants more to be done.
"They need to do more than that, that's the only thing that's going to calm them down. It's a start, but people are still suffering."
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