Joplin resident voices concern over high electricity deposit - KOAM TV 7

Joplin resident voices concern over high electricity deposit

Ben Sargeant and his family relocated back to Joplin this summer.  

The move was going well until he learned the cost of his electricity deposit would be $520.  

"That just doesn't seem fair if you're trying to rent a place," he said.

The deposit was in addition to a bill of $81.92 from when he previously lived in Joplin with his former wife.

For Sargeant, it was too costly and he begged with the provider.  

"I went back and forth explaining I won't have enough money for groceries or anything if I pay you this money."

After many conversations with the service provider, Empire District Electric Company, Sargeant said the company agreed to cut the deposit in half and bill him for the previous balance.  

Property owner and manger Susi Yust has had tenants experience similar high deposit fees.  She is uncertain as to how the provider establishes the deposit amount.  

"I can only guess that's what they expect the highest bill is going to be."

According to empire electric, the deposit is two months of what a normal bill in that particular home would be.  Certain reasons could lead to a higher deposit.

"You've left your service without paying, or if we've known of meter tapering, or other such incidents, they can require a larger deposit," said Amy Bass, Empire District Electric Company. 

The company offers options to qualify for service without a deposit, these include owning a home or providing a guarantor's signature.

But Sargeant says the overall policy is unfair, as electricity is a necessity for everyone.

"You can't just sit there and have these rigid guidelines and expect people to be able to live up to those guidelines," said Sargeant.

More information on deposits and fees can be found here

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