BLANCHESTER — Some village citizens are not satisfied with the Blanchester Board of Public Affairs’ response to what the residents say are rates higher than they should be.
Luiza McQueen, owner of Luiza’s Hair Studio, and 15 locals recently met in her studio to start collecting signatures for a petition to present to the BPA to investigate high electric costs.
If the group doesn’t get what they believe are satisfactory answers, they would then take another course.
“Mainly our concern is, obviously, the discrepancy of the charging of the electricity in town, which apparently has been an issue for many years,” said McQueen. “What we’re trying to do is come together as a community and not as an individual to try and fight this, because it is an issue.”
McQueen told the News Journal she has two shops, one in Blanchester and one in Milford, and what raised a red flag for her was the bill for the Blanchester shop being much higher than her Milford shop, which is larger by 400 square feet.
“My shop in Milford only uses an average of 550 kilowatts per hour and yet my shop in Blanchester is somehow using 5,000 kilowatts per hour,” she said.
McQueen said that one of her customers at her Milford shop is Robert Manning, Vice President of Lykins Energy Solutions. She had him analyze her bill, and she said the results came back that the meters were wrong.
“We’re trying to get 700 signatures on a petition so that we can approach the BPA together with the handbook of rules for the village,” she said. “We need to approach them and say this is what you need to do and you have 90 days to do it. If you don’t, the committee will come together representing the people and we’ll have to take it further.”
One of their frustrations, according to McQueen, are the seemingly varying excuses for the high billing.
“It’s a different excuse every time,” she said. “Mine was my ceiling was too high. Someone else goes and they say that it’s an old building or maybe the windows were shut or they’re not insulated correctly.”
She also indicated that there’s no apparent middle ground with bills. Some residents seem to pay $100 to $200 while others — a majority, she said — pay up to $800.
Dan Young, a real estate agent, told her these rates are affecting the buying and selling of property and small businesses, McQueen said.
Kay Stenersen, who was at the meeting with her husband Jerry, said they’re moving to Hillsboro because of the rates. Stenersen told the News Journal her utility bill last month was $975.
“We don’t even use electric for heat,” said Stenersen. “My bill was the highest out of all the residents at the meeting.”
She advised she and her husband already collected around 130 signatures.
For more info about the petition, email McQueen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 513-491-6089.
BPA Manager Jim Myers has stated that locals are welcome to contact the BPA with any questions or concerns about their bills at the office at the Municipal Building, 318 E. Main St., or call them at 937-783-2141.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574