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Why are utility bills higher than normal in Fayetteville?

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. - Dozens and dozens of Fayetteville Public Utilities customers have contacted WHNT News 19 with concerns about the cost of their utility services. Many of them asking why their bills are so much higher than usual.

WHNT took those issues straight to FPU CEO Britt Dye. Dye admits that he's aware of higher than average bills.

"This last month is because of the weather degree days. When you are talking about single digit, below zero wind chill factors the degree days based this year January based last year is tremendously increased," explained Dye.

Dye said that all customers should anticipate a higher cost during the winter months.

"Anytime my bill goes up it concerns me because my bill has gone up just like our customer's bills have gone up. But at the same time if I've got my thermostat set at 65 degrees or 66 degrees. I know when it drops down to five or zero the heat pump is going to be pushing harder to do that," said Dye.

The CEO wants to be clear the FPU isn't trying to trick their customers into paying more.

"We don't price gouge. We can't force current back through the meter to make it look like you used more than what you actually used. We can't do that," said Dye.

He recommends that customers contact FPU directly if they think there's an error on their bill.

"We have smart meters at a lot of locations now, and we can tell you the degree time, what time you might have peaked or what you used. We would love to sit down and discuss why the bills are so high," said Dye.

He also says it's best for everyone who lives in the home to be added to the bill. Dye said that FPU can't speak to anyone whose name isn't on the account.

The Tennessee Valley Authority increased utility rates in October of 2017. Dye said the increase was less than two percent.