Several groups gathered at city hall today to speak out against proposed Austin Energy rate increases. The average residential electric bill would go up $10 to $20 a month next year.
The Austin Independent School District says early estimates show they would have to pay an additional $3 million more a year if rates increase. AISD officials say that would be a 25 percent jump in their utility costs.
“It’s pretty substantial, I mean you think about it, that’s like sixty teaching positions and at the point of now where we’ve sustained substantial cuts and reductions at the state level, about 35 million this year, another 20 million dollars next year our resources are very scarce and we’re looking to sort of maintain and stabilize our staffing,” AISD's chief financial officer Nicole Conley-Abram told KUT.
Austin Energy hasn’t raised base electric rates since the mid '90s. They say they need to raise rates because operation costs have gone up. The utility says school districts already get lower rates than what it actually costs to deliver electricity to them.
Austin Energy Spokesman Ed Clark told KUT the utility's final recommendations for rate increases will include considerations for some customers, which could include school districts.
The Austin City Council will have the final say on rate hikes and whether any customers get discounted prices.