January was the coldest month of the year for 2018. Thermostats went up in order to keep homes warm and electric prices saw a major spike in many homes.
"I have been a citizen of Dothan for the past 45 years or more and I have never seen this in all my years," said Dothan resident Kevin Saffold. "I have seen it be cold and even snow in Dothan, but I have never seen someone's bill reach $1,300."
President of AMEA, Fred Clark, spoke today on how the cold weather affected the area from an energy point of view. Clark says the state faced colder temperatures which lead to increases in electric bills, but he says these rates haven't been steadily increasing.
"When you have everything in your house on, then the meters are turning faster and thus the kilowatts hours that your utilizing is added up much faster," Clark said.
Saffold spoke on behalf of many citizens who feel the high rates are unacceptable. He is asking for the city commission to set more ordinances and codes to change the way people utility bill are governed.
"A lot of these people who live in lower income houses don't own these homes and the fact that the landlords own the homes I think some restrictions and codes should really be put into place that causes them to bring them up to standards. If they have subpar standards then they are going to provide subpar housing because they are only doing so much as the city requires them to do," said Saffold.
"Anytime you have to deal with people, money and enforcement it is a very sensitive topic and knowing how to communicate well about that and understanding and being compassionate to others we need to be doing a good of job toward that. We need to let them know we understand if you're having a hard time paying your bill, that we care and we are going to try and do our best to help you out," said Mayor Mark Saliba.