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24K JEA Customers Face Prospect Of Having Their Power Disconnected

JEA's downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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JEA's downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.

After an announcement that JEA would resume utility shutoffs in a month, Jacksonville City Council Member Garrett Dennis led a meeting Tuesday to discuss options for customers at risk of disconnection.

Dennis said it’s alarming that power may be shut off by July 7.

JEA’s Customer Revenue director Sheila Pressley said around 2,000 customers were on the verge of being disconnected before the pandemic. That number has grown to 24,000.  She said the customers behind on their payments collectively owe more than $11 million to JEA.

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“I don’t want anyone to be disconnected… that’s why these programs have been developed and modified to make sure that certain that more customers are eligible for help and it gives them a month to plan and prepare and talk to us,” Pressley said.

JEA asks that customers struggling to pay their bills contact the utility as soon as possible about payment plans or other arrangements.

The council members talked about using assistance from a mortgage, rent and utility fund that could pay a portion of the amount owed.

Michelle Corum can be reached at mcorum@wjct.org, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.