Austin Energy is proposing its first base rate increase in 17 years. The public utility says it is operating at a loss, and needs to increase electricity rates by an average of 13 percent.
City council is being presented with four options. Under the option recommended by and Austin Energy report out today, here’s how residential rates would change.
- A 300 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $26.84 to $42.96
- A 1,000 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $92.33 to $102.21
- A 2,500 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $247.10 to $289.53
One of the major changes under the new plan is that kilowatt hours increase in price the more you use. For example, the price per kilowatt hour is currently 11.218 cents for every kilowatt hour from 501 on up. The new system recommended in the report would index electricity prices like this:
- Under 500 kWh would be 5.514 cents per kWh
- 501-1000 kWh would be 9.514 cents per kWh
- 1001-1500 kWh would be 12.014 cents per kWh
- 1501-2500 kWh would be 13.514 cents per kWh
- More than 2500 kWh would be 14.514 per kWh
Austin Energy says the pricing scheme is intended to provide an incentive to conserve electricity.
“We want to reward customers who stay at lower usage, and customers who have higher usage will have higher rates,” Austin Energy spokesman Carlos Cordova told KUT News. “Overall, that will encourage energy efficiency in this community.”
The rate change also strips out costs that used to be included in the kilowatt hour pricing and bills them as separate line items. An electric delivery charge, for example, would be billed as a separate $10 monthly fee under the recommended proposal. A charge for street lighting would show up as a separate charge of 0.114 cents per kilowatt hour.
The new recommended pricing regime would also increase the “customer charge”, a flat fee on every bill, from $6 to $15.
You can read more about the rate changes and the rationale behind them in this report on Austin Energy’s website.