Council Agrees on Energy Rate Proposal
After months of debate and more than a dozen work sessions, the Austin City Council finally agreed on a proposed rate increase for Austin Energy. The council voted unanimously Tuesday to support a so-called moderate plan – an overall increase of seven percent.
But those proposed increases would be broken out into five tiers. Users would be grouped by type of energy, amount of usage and the size of the house or apartment. And the increases would be spread out over five years.
“The purpose of tiered rates is to incentivize energy efficiency,” says Austin Energy CEO Larry Weiss, “and to reflect the lack of charging demand to residential customers. Normally, the larger-use customers have put a larger demand on the system.”
Consumers on the lowest end of energy usage would see a $5 increase – about 16 percent.
Council also unanimously agreed not to offer an energy discount to customers who don’t live within city limits. People outside Austin have argued they should pay a discounted rate because the utility transfers some tens of millions of dollars every year to the city’s general fund, which pays for things like parks, libraries, police services and more.
Austin City Council could take a final vote to adopt the new rate structure as soon as June 7.