Hearne Power Problems

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Hearne residents are paying the price for power. Electric bills there have sky rocketed over the past few months, but there is relief in sight.

William Polk of Hearne says he couldn't believe his eyes when he first saw his $500 light bill a few months ago. And he wasn't alone.

Six months ago all Hearne residents noticed an increase in their bills. Some virtually doubled from one month to the next.

"This year for some reason, it's just outrageous. $500, you know that's too much for a light bill," said Polk.

"It's kind of tough for people in this community to have to pay that type of price," said Lacy Jones, another Hearne resident.

In March, the city's contract with American Electric Power ended. The council was encouraged to shop around for a new energy provider with a lower rate.

"A decision was made that we see what's out there, see what's available, who can provide a better whole sale cost to the city and we went out for bids," said Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez.

In that process of shopping around, the price of natural gas and oil was reaching all time highs and the city got stuck with high rates.

But there is finally some good news for residents. The city has just signed a new contract and locked in a lower rate. And that will soon mean some relief from high electricity bills.

"We did lock in at a rate where it isn't going to be as much as what they're paying today. We've been looking at this month to month and trying to find a way to lower utilities," said Gomez.

Residents say the relief can't come soon enough.

"It's nice to hear that they were negotiating to get a better rate. Lower some light bills especially here coming up before Christmas," said Polk.

The council is expected to approve the new contract on Monday and residents may see a significant drop in their light bills for November.