SEYMOUR (KFDX/KJTL) — Seymour residents came together at the ICE House Event Venue Thursday evening with hopes of gaining a better understanding and a possible solution to high electric rates.
The city operates a municipal-owned utility, which leaves residents with no power to choose their own provider.
The Seymour City Council voted to lower the power cost factor to $0.065 from $0.085, but that reverted back when revenue dropped.
Now residents said they just want their voices to be heard.
Electric rates in Seymour are a hot button item that has now boiled down to demanding change.
“We need a change so that the young people have incentives to move back to Seymour and raise their families,” one resident said at the town hall. “Generate sales tax and possibly open up their own business.”
In a packed house, Seymour residents shared issues with the city operating a municipal-owned utility.
The MOU means residents have one option for an electric provider and the city has one stream for revenue.
“The rates are set by elected council members, they’re not as regulated as industry-owned utilities or IOU,” Seymour resident Emily Ermis said. “They have lots of regulations they have to adhere to, our council can change the rates as they wish.”
“After two long days of calling all 70 municipal-owned electric departments in the state of Texas, myself, Seymour wins the award,” town hall organizer and Seymour resident Sommer Portwood said. “Congratulations, you’re paying the highest electric rate of any other MOU in the state of Texas.”
Ermis said the MOU is supposed to be an advantage for the city and she believes it’s not operating the way it should be.
“It’s supposed to cost the public less than industry-owned utilities, we all know that’s not happening,” Ermis said.
Portwood owns several businesses in Seymour and she wants the community to recognize its potential.
“Seymour is not a place to retire on a limited income, it’s not a place to live if you’re economically disadvantaged, it’s not a place to prosper as a business owner,” Portwood said. “It’s not a place right now where everyone feels like they are part of a community that has put everyone’s best interest at heart.”
After going with the flow for years, many residents are calling for action.
The Tri-County Electric Co-op, inc. attended the town hall to offer insight. Some ideas thrown out are to sell to a co-op or deregulate the city so there’s an open market.