AUSTIN, Texas - Starting Nov. 1, Austin Energy customers can expect a more costly bill, with another increase expected in 2023.
In an 7-to-4 vote on Thursday, city council members approved raising Austin Energy pass-through rates for the Power Supply Adjustment (PSA) and Regulatory Charge.
Council members weighed two options for raising rates on Thursday.
- One option would cost the average consumer roughly $20 extra a month over a year-long period.
- Second option would cost roughly $15 extra a month over a three-year period. Council ultimately opted to go with the second scenario and spread out the additional fees.
"Today we’re faced with a hard choice," said Mayor Pro-Tem Alison Alter. "I, too, am concerned about the sticker shock many families will experience, but I believe the sticker shock will be greater if we let our utility not be fiscally sustainable."
- City Council discusses Austin Energy utility rate hikes
- Austin Energy launches base rate review process
According to Austin Energy, the utility under-recovered $104 million in power supply adjustment costs this past year. Factors at play include a very hot summer that increased demand along with spiking natural gas prices.
"It’s a hard vote because we’re voting to increase rates, but we’re increasing rates to pay bills that we have already come in and paid," said Mayor Steve Adler.
Council members Mackenzie Kelly, Vanessa Fuentes, Paige Ellis, and Natasha Harper-Madison voted no on Thursday.
"Knowing that for families in the southeast Austin area, many are living paycheck to paycheck, dealing with rising rents, inflation, a number of things that have gone up, I will not be supporting today’s proposal," said Council member Fuentes, who represents District 2.
The City also began reviewing Austin Energy’s base rates in the spring. If approved later this month, or in November, the average customer would see an increase of roughly $15 a month starting in January in addition to the PSA and Regulatory Charge rate increase approved Thursday.