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Resident required to pay $18,000 power bill

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Updated: 4/03/2014 10:26 am
TISHOMINGO, Miss. (WTVA) - A Tishomingo business owner is required to pay over $18,000 in back pay electricity bills after the power association refuses to pay for part of the balance.  And the power association accepts blame for the billing error that led to that balance. 

"I don't even know what I'm going to do," said business owner, Pattie Ferguson. "I just had faith in the board to make the right decision, but that didn't happen."

In July 2013, the Tishomingo Electric Power Association discovered her meter wasn't working properly. Five months later, they slapped her with the bill.

"I didn't have anything to do with the meter," Ferguson said. "That's not my responsibility. I got a bill every month and paid it on time."

Here's where it seems even the power association got confused.

In November, they said her balance was $18,000. In December, it changed to $1,600. In January, it changed once again to nearly $4,000.

Now the balance is back to $18,000.

"I was told different numbers throughout this whole process," she explained.

In fact, they couldn't determine how much power she used in December. Under kilowatts per hour used in the month, the statement listed "not available."

"I don't know what to believe," Ferguson said. "I don't know how they can determine an estimate."

Power Association Board Member Kenneth Clingan said they made the mistake. They should fix it.

"I think we outta help absorb some of it," Clingan said. "We outta discuss it. We outta absorb some of it. We made the mistake."

But according to Clingan, the Tennessee Valley Authority won't allow the association to pick up even part of the tab.

The association purchases its power from TVA. Members said, TVA has threatened to sue the association if it pays off the balance.

This has Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley up in arms.

"The local association in Tishomingo County wants to treat their customers right," he said. "They want to be fair."

"I think they should have that opportunity regardless of what TVA thinks or what they want to try to threaten these local boards with," he continued.

On Monday, Clingan resigned from the board, but they didn't accept his resignation.

"If we're not going to listen to facts, then there's no use in me being there," he said.

Ferguson is stuck with a bill that will take her ten years to pay off, according to the association's payment plan.

"I just have to have faith in the people to do the right thing," Ferguson said.

Presley said he'll meet with TVA in a couple of weeks to help resolve the issue.

Ferguson has contacted an attorney.

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