Posts Tagged ‘electric rates’

Did you know that your retail electric provider may be working behind the scenes to drive up energy prices? A review of filings at the PUC show that several Texas retail electric providers are pushing hard for the approval of super high wholesale energy price caps and for a very expensive capacity market that will trickle down to you, the ratepayer, in increased energy bills. These proposals, by their very design, will make energy more costly.

Check out the new blog post at the Recharge Ratepayer Report.

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Good news for the safety, comfort and health of Texans — the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) announced this morning that they would increase their special discount for low-income electricity users during these hot summer months.

Proof, via the trusted Associated Press:

PUC officials say discounts for low-income electricity users are being increased through Aug. 1 to about three cents per kilowatt hour. A PUC statement issued Wednesday says that means a rate cut of 17 to 30 percent.

Consumers can get immediate pricing information by phone at 866-797-4839 or on the Internet at http://www.powertochoose.org. LITE-UP Texas Program applications for low-income consumers are available at 866-454-8387 or 877-399-8939.

Anyone who lives in a competitive electric service market (that is, you have multiple electric providers to choose from — unlike Austin and San Antonio which are served by municipally owned utilities) and receives Medicaid and Food stamps is eligible.  If you aren’t in either of those programs, you might still qualify if your household income comes in at or below that in the following chart.chart

For more information on the discount program, or to enroll, visit the PUC’s LITE-UP Texas website.

The PUC should be commended for this most recent action to protect Texas’ most vulnerable from scorching summer heat… but I can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with the tongue-lashing they received from Sylvester Turner at their last open meeting.  Whatever the motivation (or kick in the pants), the PUC has done a good thing… tip of the hat to you, sirs.

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Sun MoneyThanks to Luke Metzger at the Environment Texas blog for this take on pending net metering legislation (read: making sure folks with solar panels get paid back for the excess energy they produce):

On Monday, the Texas House will decide whether to promote solar energy by requiring utilities to pay consumers fair prices for surplus solar power or to codify anti-consumer practices in order to benefit big utilities like TXU. Here’s the story.

Sick of riding the rollercoaster of high electric rates and concerned over pollution and dependence on foreign oil, many Texans are turning to solar power to get more choices than their electric company provides. More than 40 states help consumers do this by requiring electric companies to pay a fair price for the surplus electricity solar panels put back on the grid (known as net metering). In return, the electric grid benefits from a supply of pollution-free electricity during peak-demand time periods, such as hot summer afternoons, avoiding congestion costs and dampening real-time on-peak wholesale energy prices. The more renewable generation that is located at customer’s houses and businesses, the less will need to be charged in the future to all customers’ electric bills for wires, fuel and pollution costs. Incentivizing solar will also help create jobs and attract manufacturers to the state.

In addition to consumer rebates and tax credits, net metering is a key financial driver making solar power a cost-effective investment for consumers. Texas had such a policy in place in the 1980s, but with the restructuring of the electric market, old definitions of electric utilities no longer applied and net metering was inadvertently ended. (more…)

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