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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — You pay a price to live near the beach, but some Southport residents say the price of their power bills is ridiculous.

Lori Stevens moved to her dream location of Southport only a few months ago. Her house was built with many energy-efficient features, so when she got her electric bill for more than $600 in one month, Stevens could not believe her eyes.

“I don’t know how they can justify a $621 bill,” Stevens said. “It just doesn’t add up.”

But this is not the first time the City of Southport has had a problem with seemingly out-of-whack electric bills. In 2011, Mayor Robert Howard said the problem was new power boxes that needed recalibration. Now three years later, Stevens was told the problem is the same.

“I just want something to be done about this,” she said. “I want them to do the right thing. I want them to recheck this. I want people to come out to the meeting next week at city hall, and I want them to voice their opinions about this. It’s unconstitutional to charge this much for electricity.”

Southport resident Bill Thorpe hopes something can be done to fix the inflated bills.

“I just hope the state, Duke Power, Southport and Brunswick Electric can come up with a better way delivering electricity to our subdivision and the City of Southport,” Thorpe said.

We tried contacting the city manager about the problem, but have not gotten a call back.

Comment on this Story

  • Double Bass

    I have lived in Boiling Spring Lakes for 37 years. When I moved here, I considered Southport, but checked on utility pricing and decided against it. Southport has always been extremely high on electric rates. I understand Southport used to or maybe still does buy from Duke and re-sells to its customers. At one time there were a lot of problems with old equipment, and that was their excuse for high bills then.

  • Sally Smith

    Yes the power bill may be too much. But look at what she used. 4216 in electric, then she has water, sewer and taxes on top of that.

  • guest45

    I haven’t heard you raising a ruckus over gas prices, and yet you fuss about a power bill???? What is wrong with you? The power companies are being hit hard by fuel cost, and thanks to your president they are also having higher benefits packages which includes health care, if you want electrical bills to come down lower the cost of living and they will pass it on to the consumer.

  • Guest000000

    “…if you want electrical bills to come down lower the cost of living and they will pass it on to the consumer.”

    That is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

  • RMP

    I love it. Of course a power meter out of calibration is Obama’s fault. Who else could be responsible? With thinking like this its no wonder why republicans can’t win an election.

  • Mary Wright

    Yes the power bill may be too much. But look at what she used 4216 in electric, water and sewer on top of that. Then it is all taxed.

  • Lori Stevens

    I wasn’t complaining about the cost of water, trash and sewer. The electric bill alone was $621.00. I lived in Texas for 15 years, always kept my A/C at around 72 during the day and 65 at night, and had a house that was over 3000 sq. feet. Not to mention the fact that it was usually over 100 degrees for most of the days for many months of the year! I have a 2700 sq. foot house now, keep my A/C at 76 during the day and 67 at night and have an energy efficient house with all new energy efficient appliances. You must work for Duke Energy, otherwise, what’s your problem with me reporting the truth??

  • 1492

    67 degrees at night? You’re kidding right?

    Leave your AC on 76, stop sleeping under a heavy top cover and turn on the ceiling fan which is probably right over your bed.

    Better yet, with the temperature settings you seem to prefer, move to a colder climate. It’s way too warm for you here.

  • Guesteasy

    I have a 1900 sq foot house in Pender county (Duke Energy), 70 years old with crap attic insulation, none in the walls, new windows and a 13 seer a/c unit. I keep the a/c on 71 , 24/7 and my highest bill was 160.00 Your meter is messed up ! Are you paying for the street lights btw?

  • Guest2020

    I keep my A/C at no lower than 80 and utilize the ceiling fans. The last bill was $200.

  • Guest000000

    I remember in 1997 when I moved to Southport. The first power bill I got almost sent me into cardiac arrest. I was paying exactly double (.13cents per kwh vs 6.5cents per kwh) what I paid as a Duke Power customer in SC. At that time Southport offered load control which allowed them to cut the power off to your AC unit and hot water heater during extreme peak usage (6am-9am and 4pm-7pm). That means that many days we came home to an 85 degree house and a couple mornings per year we took a cold shower, but they lowered our rate to 7cents per kwh. I don’t know if they still offer that or not. As soon as we could, we moved to an area of the county with a much lower rate per kwh. Supposedly Southport is trying to get out of an agreement they signed years ago buying power from some company in Raleigh. This is why their rate per kwh is so high.

  • Random

    Setting ur ac at 65 at night in southeastern NC is a no no especially that close to the beach if u wanna save money. Humidity here in Nc makes our 85 degree days feel like those 100 degree Texas days

  • Ray Ray

    Mrs Stevens, what is the kwh usage/energy charge on your bill? This is what is used to figure your $ charge (before taxes and fees) In Wilmington, Duke charges around 10 cents per kwh.

  • Guest000000

    …yes, and if you did this in Southport your electric bill would be $300. Unless you are comparing apples to apples, what your power bill runs is a moot point.

  • Eskimo

    72 in day 67@ night, are you an eskimo? 80 during the day when no ones home 76@ night. 2800ft 2story house and electric bill has not been over 130$. And that was high, avg 1-110/ mo. Maybe you need to check into residential time of use program it saves me +\- 20$ month and 150$ yr

  • Lori Stevens

    I kept it at 72 during the day in TEXAS, not here, 77 during the day here…

  • Harlow Chase

    now go home. Texas has produced 3 presidents each worse than the other. Bush should be tared feathered and strung up, along with you if you stay. GO HOME.

  • Random Reader

    According to the amount vs. your consumption, the rate is $0.147 per kWh. Now go back and make sure that the previous “current” reading matches your beginning reading on this bill. Also make sure that the serial number on your meter matches what’s on your bill.

    The next thing to do is look up the information on the meter manufacturer’s web site and determine how to calculate your real time consumption.

    Along the lines of this for the iTron meter like Duke uses.


    So, if the meter is the same, your steady state consumption would be 5.85 kW. That’s 4214 kWh / 720 hours in a month. So, if the meter you have uses the same basis for the dots on the display – 1 Wh per dot, you would expect to see 1.6 dot changes per second (5850 / 3600 seconds). That’s actually pretty fast. In real terms, that would be something using about 24 amps at 240 volts. Not too horribly out of line for a decent sized AC compressor running continuously.

  • Lori Stevens

    I have two units and only typically lower the unit for downstairs, in the evening, and it’s bumped back up when my husband gets up at 3 am.

  • Random Reader

    You need to figure out if you are really consuming that power, or if they are reading the meter wrong, or even the wrong meter. Electric meters of the type that are used on houses are extremely accurate in measuring what goes through them. Errors are in the less than one percent region. Older mechanical (dial) meters run slower (measure less) as they age, and even stop at low loads occasionally. Digital meters don’t have that issue, and really don’t lie about consumption. When they go bad, they just go to sleep and read and show nothing.

    I’ll say it again, you need to see what kind of consumption you have. If you can’t figure out how to read the meter, get an electrician to measure it for you. At the rate that appears on your bill, that meter would increment almost 6 kWh an hour. Multiply difference over any period of time by $.147, and that will equal what they will charge you.

    Southport isn’t going to do this for you, and they won’t credit you anything unless you prove that they are reading the meter wrong, or they are reading the wrong meter – that does happen. Make sure the counts and meter serial match what is on your bill.

    If that meter is counting up at that rate, you ARE burning that electricity, and will need to find out what’s doing it. Heat strip coming on with AC comes to mind.

  • Lori Stevens

    One of my neighbors thinks the meter wasn’t really read the first bill we received and this bill reflects two months. That may very well be the case. If so, I wish I would have gotten some warning so I could have prepared myself. The first month was very low and I was overjoyed thinking this whole energy efficient house, appliances and light bulbs are really working for us! I’ve never kept track of my kilowatt usage, I’ve never needed to before. I guess this has been a lesson…

  • Aarggh!

    One of your neighbors thinks … This may very well be the case …

    And you still don’t know? It sounds like you still haven’t taken it upon yourself to personally find out what’s what. What are you waiting for; someone else to do it for you?

    If you’re capable of finding this forum and posting on it, what could possibly be stopping you from picking up the phone, calling your service provider and asking them what the deal is?

    No offense Lori, but it sounds like it’s time to be a little more proactive in handling your own life. Let’s face it, the alternative is to just sit there, keep throwing money into the wind and hope it all magically works out.

  • Lori Stevens

    I’ve actually made several phone calls when I received the bill, one of them was to Southport Utilities. I was offered no explanation why my electric bill was so high. I asked if this is a typical price and got the typical, I’m not sure…They’ll send someone out to check my meter…I’m very proactive in my life, thank you very much!

  • Aarggh!

    No one could tell you if that bill was a consolidation of more than just one month? I find that hard to believe.

    Wasn’t the billing period also listed on you bill?

  • dookrules

    Hey, how else do you think all the coal ash spills across the state by Duke Energy will get cleaned up?

    THEY’RE not going to to pay, after all! THANKS, McCRORY!

  • guesty
  • Lori Stevens

    I contacted both of those agencies and was told that since electricity was not regulated they could basically charge whatever they wanted.

  • Hal Stevens

    The high utility bills are to grease the hands of the republican party and fat cats. About 10 years ago CP&L offered to purchase all of South Ports electric facilities,this would lower all bills by 30% but the republican leaders would not hear of it. I know people in Durham county who had $600.00 dollars a month water bills 10 years ago. The bill was only $75.00 buy what ever the water bill was so was the sewer bill making the bill $300.00 and because they were so far from down town Durham they doubled the bill, it is anybody’s guess what these poor people are paying for water now.

  • Ken

    All electric bills will continue to rise as coal fired plants are closed due to the policy of the idiot in the White House.

  • guesty

    Right on the front page of the North Carolina Utilities Commission web page it states:

    “Today, the Commission regulates electric, telephone (including payphone service and shared tenant service), natural gas, water, wastewater, water resale, household goods transportation, buses, brokers, and ferryboats. To a limited degree, the Commission regulates electric membership corporations, small power producers, and electric merchant plants. The Commission is also responsible for administering programs in North Carolina to ensure the safety of natural gas pipelines. The Commission does not regulate telephone membership corporations, cable TV, satellite, commercial mobile radio service, cellular, pagers, or data and internet service providers.”

  • Lori Stevens

    If you read right under what it regulates it states, to a limited degree. I was told by them to contact my local utility company…

  • Ken

    Lori you said “It’s unconstitutional to charge this much for electricity.” which is really funny. Do not expect prices to get better as Obie hates coal. Obie wants coal and natural gas fired plants shut down. Those plants are very economical to run, the only thing less expensive to run them on would be the BS and hot air coming from Obie!

  • guesty

    “To a limited degree, the Commission regulates electric membership corporations, small power producers, and electric merchant plants.”

    Progress Duke isn’t a membership coop, a small power producer and you don’t have a problem with the plant or the generation of the power, you have a problem with the distribution and cost side.

  • Lori Stevens


  • guesty

    So Progress Duke falls under them. They have authority to step in if you feel Progress Duke is charging you too much.

  • Random Reader

    Duke / Progress is the wholesaler to the City of Southport. Their only role is to provide wholesale electricity to the substation. They charge in the neighborhood of $.05 a kWh. Southport marks it up to almost $.15 a kWh for residential users. Also, technically the City of Southport is not a “electric membership corporation”, they are a political entity. The NCUC has no say over them.

    They had a source rate increase of $.008 per kWh, so they decided to raise rates by $.017 per kWh. Nothing like doubling your money……


  • howard stevens

    Thanks to our general assembly(Republican) they have pulled all the teeth of the utility commission. They have very little power to regulate anything. Time warner is a power that has been let lose to do as it will with bait and switch and down right cheat and lie and if the users do not like it they can go elsewhere, if they do not pay up to the fraud charges they risk having their credit damaged.

  • truth

    Most of the people commenting are missing one important point: These power bills are not coming from Duke Energy. Southport receives its electricity from ElectriCities and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA).

  • Lori Stevens

    Couldn’t agree more!!


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