City Wants to Put Off Oncor's Requested 16.5 Percent Rate Hike As Long As Possible

Categories: City Hall, News
On January 7, Oncor filed with the Public Utility Commission a rate-hike request: It wants to jump your electricity bill by around $5 a month. Said Chief Operating Officer Charles Jenkins: So sorry, but we have no choice! "The proposed new rates reflect both the investments we've made and the cost controls we've put in place," he explained in a statement, "including recently refinancing a portion of our debt at lower interest rates and passing those savings on to customers." And that tree-trimming program's expensive. Though Oncor was just given the OK to increase rates by around $3 in 2009, this latest request wasn't unexpected: Oncor had warned it was coming in October. Only, it didn't say how high it would ask consumers to jump.

When Oncor finally submitted the figure to the PUC earlier this month, it came as quite the what-the-what. Thomas Brocato, an Austin attorney who specializes in making cities' cases before regulatory boards whenever energy providers ask for more, told The News the 16.5-percent increase was "really surprising given the very favorable outcome they had in their last case."

According to a city council briefing posted last night, Oncor wants the rates to take effect February 14 -- Happy Valentine's Day to you too. But at its Wednesday meeting, the council will more than likely vote to suspend the rate request for 90 days while the Oncor Cities Steering Committee -- which consists of 147 cities served by Oncor -- reviews the request. Says the briefing and the council's meeting addendum, also posted last night, the steering committee has already hired legal council and consultants to "prepare a common response and to negotiate with the Company and direct any necessary litigation."

Which didn't do anyone much good during the last round of rate hikes: Once the PUC allowed Oncor to increase rates, the best the steering committee could muster was a press release expressing its disappointment. As Elizabeth Souder noted earlier this month, yes, attorneys are still appealing the '09 hike -- and that fight could last another year. And: "Customers pay for the legal wrangling."

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Titus Groan
Titus Groan

So, they're raising their rates to pass savings on to the consumers? WTF sense does that make? If you are not daily questioning your sanity around here, you've already lost it.


And we trust the City Council with our money? Didn't they just vote for a tax increase?


Raise your rates, cut your trees, raise your rates, cut your trees some more.....


I'm still confused how it makes sense to consumers that a for-profit company has a monopoly on providing one of the most essential infrastructure services.

Of course they want to charge more, they need to make a profit for their owners, it seems crazy to me that we allow a company that needs to make a profit a monopoly on providing one of the most essential services to us.


This won't be the last increase in electric rates. Up in Canada, the province of Ontario (where Toronto resides) stated to expecte 45% increase in electric rates over the next 5 years.

So, better start to focus more on reducing electricity consumption.

There are a lot of ways to do this that are simple and free.

Above is one collection containing more than 530 energy and water savings ideas for the home (house or apartment), of which:

- 440+ are simple and easy to do - 300+ cost absolutely no money - 125+ cost next to nothing - 145+ clean water saving tips - 115+ electricity savings tips - 110+ winter heating savings tips - 80+ summer cooling saving tips

Lots of the ideas in that collection have helped us reduce our electricity usage and thus save money.

I hope this helps.

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