Sale of JEA could affect some customers in St. Johns County

The debate about JEA’s future affects more than just Jacksonville. JEA also serves northern St. Johns County.

If JEA is sold, customers' electrical service wouldn’t change, but the county has the right to buy back its water and sewer operations.

“It’s about local control,” said St. Johns County Utilities director Bill Young. “There’s no reason to think rates would go higher.”

According to the contract between St. Johns County and JEA from 1999, the county has the right of first refusal if  JEA is sold.

Currently, St. Johns County Utilities handles water and sewer for the southern half of the country.

“We are building really big,” said resident Kathy Barnett.

St. John’s County once had just 50,000 people. Now it has 250,000 and is growing.

When asked if a change meant lower water bills, Barnett said, “How much lower?”

This process will not happen overnight.

If JEA is sold and St. Johns County commissioners vote to opt out, the county will still receive service from whoever buys JEA until that company is up and running, and that could take at least a decade.