Businesses under Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation to see higher bills

Businesses who get their power from Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation will see a 20 percent increase on their bills. The energy company says they saw this increase coming.

The energy company JPEC buys from, Big Rivers, lost some of its biggest energy buyers: industrial aluminum companies. This increased rates for other customers, including JPEC.

JPEC used state-level funds to stabilize those rates, but they’ve run out for businesses. Business owners say you’ll likely pick up that cost.

Harned’s barbecue smoker stays warm through the winter, but owner-manager Rick Harned says they still worry about electricity inside. He says you can’t run a restaurant without power, but food and utility cost changes haven’t dented their 60-year-old business yet. But he said dealing with those changes affects customers.

"We can control the price increase, if we have to increase our prices hopefully we wont have to," Harned says.

But homes, schools, farms and churches won’t feel the cost increase.

JPEC President and CEO Dennis Cannon says businesses will see the higher rates for years, maybe until 2018. He says the funds used to mitigate the high rates have been exhausted, so now those businesses will feel the effects on next month’s bill. He says they are working to bring the costly bills back down.

"Any time we have to pay more for anything we’re frustrated, and all of us at Jackson Purchase empathize with our members," Cannon says.

As for whether the 20 percent increase will affect homeowners, the answer is likely yes. Cannon says there are many fluid factors, but they estimate homeowners will see pricier bills in May, June, or July 2016.

As for how businesses can protect against the high costs, Cannon told me businesses who go through approved methods and steps to save energy can be eligible for discounts.

Click here to see the letter the JPEC sent to affected members.

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