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Fairport Electric customers see high bills

Fairport, N.Y. -- Some local municipalities have called this a historic winter season, with heating costs for non-gas customers increasing at least 35 percent.

Local electric programs like Fairport Electric are known for being considerably cheaper than Rochester Gas & Electric and other larger utilities, but Fairport resident Dennis O'Donnell said he can't help but notice how high his electric bill has jumped this year.

"Probably in comparison I would describe the weather, although I'd use the clean words but a little bit shocking," he said when asked to describe his bill.

O'Donnell said the highest bill he had before this winter was around $350. This year, he's paying more than that.

"It was less than $500, but not an awful lot less than $500," O'Donnell said.

"It's not so much that it's cold; it's the prolonged cold," said Fairport Village Clerk Kay Wharmby about the cause of the increase.

Wharmby said that's part of the reason this winter has been harsh. The village, which owns Fairport Electric, typically budgets for 110 megawatts of hydropower per month. But in the last two months, usage peaked at 116 megawatts.

That prompted the village to buy from another source at a high cost, which is passed on to customers.

"We had to pay so much more in order to get enough power to provide power for all of our customers, "said Wharmby.

Wharmby said it's not just electric rates, but the cost of the natural gas, which is used to generate the electricity that is also helping to drive up costs.

Spencerport and other local governments across the state have seen the same trends due to extreme cold temperatures.

Wharmby said Fairport has been getting a large amount of calls from residents who need help paying their bills.

Wharmby said that the village is helping residents make arrangements.

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Washington Times