Some in Mishawaka confused by higher utility bills - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Some in Mishawaka confused by higher utility bills

Posted:

Mishawaka Utilities Customers knew it was coming, but they're still experiencing some sticker shock after a rate hike went into effect. Back in November, the city council approved a 14-percent rate hike to residents' electric bills.

That means change is happening to the electric bills of Mishawaka residents. Property managers and residents in communities where the heat runs on electricity, like Creekside Terrace Apartments, say they're taking a serious hit. "There's only so much that we can cut back," says Mary Sexton, who has lived at Creekside for almost 3 years. She says, "What's going through my head is 'Am I going to pay my bills and feed my daughter?'"

Tom Grzedzicki has lived at Creekside for seven years. He says he knew there was going to be a 14% increase, but he says the math is off. He says his bills nearly doubled from December to January . "I think most people can accept the 14% increase, but this is a 100% to 110% increase," says Grzedzicki.

Dan Balogh is in charge of maintenance at the apartments. He was puzzled when he saw a high charge for an apartment that's barely in use... in fact, it's just for storage. "There's no lights on. All the lights are stripped and the wires are capped," he says. The unit that is strictly used for storage - no lights, no appliances, just a furnace - had a bill that jumped from $73 dollars to $186 dollars. Balogh says Mishawaka Utilities couldn't explain to him why an empty apartment used 18-hundred kilowatts in a month.

Many residents have tried to talk to Mishawaka Utilities for answers. One of those residents, who has been going back and forth for weeks with the company, is Michael Brandenburg, who says, "They brush me off. When they find out I have the evidence, they don't want to talk to me about it."

We called the General Manager at Mishawaka Utilities. He told us the price increase would be too complicated to explain in a TV interview. He said customers could bring their electric bills in and have them explained by customer service. So, we asked if we could join a customer and tape the explanation. That request was denied as well.

Creekside Apartments property manager Cindy Nichols is now left to wonder what the February bills will look like. She says she's already lost two potential tenants after they asked about the cost of utilities. She says, "I'm not a politician.  I'm not going to lie to them.  I'm going to tell them the truth about what's happening in our city: That our utility bills are going up. [With a] 68 degree setting on their thermostat, they're going to be paying over $200 a month for electric."

Another problem is residents are starting to look for assistance on their utility bills. Creekside Apartment residents tell us they tried to get help from Mishawaka Utilities, but since they are apartment renters, they don't qualify for assistance. That's where Penn Township Trustee Janet Whitfield-Hyduk stepped in to see if she could lend a hand. She says the township has a budget for cases like this, and many residents have already put in applications. "My concern is that I don't want to see somebody have to choose between paying a utility bill and eating, or paying a utility bill and buying medication to live. So that's why we wanted to go out and see if there's something we can do," she says.

Whitfield-Hyduk says if Penn Township can't help, they work with a lot of other agencies they can refer those in need of help with their electric bills.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager found safe

    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager found safe

    Picture of Daven Lamont Brown (Courtesy: Regina Northrop)Picture of Daven Lamont Brown (Courtesy: Regina Northrop)
    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager Daven Lamont Brown has been located by his family and is unharmed. 
    Police say the family noticed "an increase in conversation" on social media after news reports came out that Brown was missing. They say those conversations led to information on where Brown might be, and he was found by family. Brown told police he was with friends the whole time he was reported missing and neglected to tell his family where he was.
    More >>
    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager Daven Lamont Brown has been located by his family and is unharmed. 
    Police say the family noticed "an increase in conversation" on social media after news reports came out that Brown was missing. They say those conversations led to information on where Brown might be, and he was found by family. Brown told police he was with friends the whole time he was reported missing and neglected to tell his family where he was.
    More >>
  • Woman found dead inside her burning home in Middlebury

    Woman found dead inside her burning home in Middlebury

    Police are still investigating after a woman was found dead Wednesday morning inside of her home in Middlebury. When authorities arrived at the scene, her house had caught fire.Elkhart County Sheriff Department deputies responded to the scene on the 11400 block of County Rd. 4 in Middlebury shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. Inside the home, they found 69-year-old Lona Chutsch dead inside of her burning house.More >>
    Police are still investigating after a woman was found dead Wednesday morning inside of her home in Middlebury. When authorities arrived at the scene, her house had caught fire.Elkhart County Sheriff Department deputies responded to the scene on the 11400 block of County Rd. 4 in Middlebury shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. Inside the home, they found 69-year-old Lona Chutsch dead inside of her burning house.
    More >>
  • Fatal motorcycle accident on US 20 in Elkhart

    Fatal motorcycle accident on US 20 in Elkhart

    A 42 year old Elkhart man was pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle accident Sunday just before 11 AM. The motorcycle driver was driving his Harley Davidson eastbound on US 20, when he crossed the center line near CO RD 13. He collided with a vehicle traveling west.Police reports say witnesses suggested the man may have been driving around 70-80 miles per hour. He was found not wearing a helmet. The driver of the car had only minor scrapes as injuries. The Elkhart County Crash Investig...More >>
    A 42 year old Elkhart man was pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle accident Sunday just before 11 AM. The motorcycle driver was driving his Harley Davidson eastbound on US 20, when he crossed the center line near CO RD 13. He collided with a vehicle traveling west.Police reports say witnesses suggested the man may have been driving around 70-80 miles per hour. He was found not wearing a helmet. The driver of the car had only minor scrapes as injuries. The Elkhart County Crash Investig...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.