GRU: Call us if your bills seem excessive

Members of a local Gainesville social media group are calling for protests outside Gainesville Regional Utilities office, and posting claims that their “recent GRU bill is more than $700.”
“I’m about to plan a protest in front of #GRU against the unfair price raises and disregards for the community,” commented Gainesville resident Litasha White. “I work fulltime for the state of Florida and I make decent money. My electric bill was $264.76 in June. In July I paid $310. I just received a bill for $555.56 due on the 23rd.”
White says her monthly bill from GRU is now more than her mortgage.
“I have been in my home for eight years and I have never received a bill this high not even in the middle of summer. What are the working people supposed to do? I want to get a group of people and protest against the electric company. I’m talking signs, lawn chairs, and copies of our light bills.”
In response to the comments, GRU Chief Customer Officer Bill Shepherd said he wishes that these and any other customers who are shocked by their monthly bills from GRU that also include water, waste, gas, and refuse charges, would reach out for help by calling GRU at 352-334-3434.
“If they can contact us, we can go over bills with them,” Shepherd said.
There are a lot of obvious reasons that bills have gone up in the past few months, according to Shepherd.
“With the pandemic, folks are home a lot more than they were last summer,” he said and added that people are making fewer trips to movies, restaurants and other outings which means they are home using energy. 
“Folks are working from home,” Shepherd added. “That translates into more A/C, more gaming, more hot water. Folks are just home.”
On the other side of that, Shepherd said a lot of commercial accounts are seeing a trickle down in monthly bills.
Shepherd spoke from his personal experience as a GRU customer, “I’ve lived in this area for 27 years,” he said and noted that his bill is up about 30 percent.
“It’s about control and comfort, Shepherd said. “Comfort costs money,” he added referring to the use of air conditioning, and he recommended that customers set their thermostats to 78 versus 70 degrees.
He also suggested customers read their meters and keep track of their numbers. “The meter is right on the side of their house and it’s fairly easy to read,” he said, also referring to ideas for cutting down utility usage offered on GRU’s website at
Shepherd noted that GRU customers’ bills this summer for 1000 kilowatt hours is actually three dollars cheaper than last summer.
But again, he encouraged customers to reach out by calling.
“We’re here to talk to them,” he said. “We’ll ask them some questions to lead them to where their usage is starting to drive that bill up.”
Shepherd said GRU has recognized how the pandemic has affected customers’ finances and said, “we stopped doing late fees and disconnect fees for several months.”Some (customers) took advantage of that and stopped paying, but it helped some who made half payments.
“As we were coming out of that, we set up automatic installments on the past due accounts.”
Shepherd said 11,000 customers had 6-month installments set up automatically. “It brings the bill to current and we set up six months of interest-free payments.
Shepherd emphasized, “We are here to answer questions and we are continually putting out messages,” he said explaining how customers can lower their bills.
“They have a lot more control of their bill,” Shepherd said when it comes to controlling energy use.
He asks that customers, “pay attention to the bill,” and if it seems off there might be a water leak.
And he reminds customers to look at each line item from gas, to waste water, to storm water and refuse for those customers living in the Gainesville City limits.

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