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Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
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Kathy Sokolic
Mueller Community

Posts: 275
Joined on March 19th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by Kathy Sokolic on April 5th, 2011

Jim did an excellent job at summarizing the high points of the paper.

What concerns me the most is that this process is supposed to be a way for Austinites to give input, but what normally happens at these meetings is that they present the data that they see fit, give us 1 minute to comment on it, and then move on to the next topic. They make the decisions based on this Beck consultant, and seem to use the PIC as a checkmark for them doing what they are supposed to do.

I (hope I) am prepared to present Jim's concern above, as it is similar to the few others who have also commented (thank you to everyone who has given me any sort of input). Above all else, I am the distributed generation representative, so I will be fighting for the best options to suit those of us with solar, as well as residents in general.

A base rate increase from $6/mo to $33/mo might not seem like a lot (I was still shocked and I knew it was coming), but that's another $10mil/month for AE, just using this base rate increase alone. And we haven't even looked at the actual rate increases yet... At least some of this will go back to the City in the general fund transfer...

Please feel free to keep commenting, all throughout the process. The more input I can give to AE, the more they *might* pay attention. They know our neighborhood is important, and if you'll notice, the Pecan Street Project WAS mentioned in this paper. All the more reason to keep an eye on the changing energy industry!!

I will report back after the meeting!

Kathy
 
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Bobby Gierisch
Mueller Community

Posts: 37
Joined on June 25th, 2010
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by Bobby Gierisch on April 7th, 2011

Based on a quick reading of the paper ... it seems that the base rate increase of $6 to $33 may be partially offset by a reduction in the per-kWh rates. I don't see anything that suggests what those proposed rates will be, but page 12 states that as fixed costs of service are moved from the variable portion of the rates (the per-kWh portion) to the base rate, the variable rate will be reduced to offset the higher amount of the base rate.

What does seem clear, however, is that raising the base rate will impact low-use customers the most, including those who low usage is due to solar installations.
 
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shellrose
Mueller Community

Posts: 230
Joined on June 20th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by shellrose on April 7th, 2011

Bobby is correct and that is what seems most "out of whack" in the proposal. Not only does it have the biggest negative impact on the citizens that use least about of energy (and a lot of those may be using less due to tight family budgets) but it is a disincentive for solar. I think the base rate proposal needs to be rethought with an eye for not penalizing the low-use customers. Perhaps they could put a tier system into effect for the base rate too.
 
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Kathy Sokolic
Mueller Community

Posts: 275
Joined on March 19th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by Kathy Sokolic on April 7th, 2011

A quick update...

If you check the documents on http://www.rates.austinenergy.com and read PIC presentation #4, you'll see some actual proposed rates. These are all under discussion/consideration, and supposedly nothing is set in stone yet.

I did state that the lower ends were really getting an unfair increase and suggested a tiered base rate.

We discussed the low income rates, and this discussion is really going to need to be led by the experts and the people who interact with the low-income customers because they have a better idea of what will help most. We made it clear that everyone should and seems happy to help, and we discussed ways to make it happen. However, we couldn't agree on any sort of program. Now, those in the low-income class have the base rate waived, and I suggested that remain the same, with an additional discount. We'll see what happens.

I need to do more research on how this will affect solar (anyone is welcome to help with this - I don't have a lot of time), and I will submit more comments on this if I have them (or if anyone shares concerns with me).

Kathy
 
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GarrethWilcock
Mueller Community

Posts: 479
Joined on February 23rd, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by GarrethWilcock on April 8th, 2011

Quote:
Not only does it have the biggest negative impact on the citizens that use least about of energy (and a lot of those may be using less due to tight family budgets) but it is a disincentive for solar.


I agree - that's how I read it. It would seem counter to some of their core principals.

 
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Jonas Miller
Mueller Community

Posts: 47
Joined on November 7th, 2009
Austin Energy Rate Review is underway
by Jonas Miller on April 14th, 2011

Indeed, the higher base rate is a way for Austin Energy to cover its massive infrastructure costs into the future. As solar adoption increases, AE's current consumption-based revenues will fall. They needed to redesign their pricing schedule to better cover building and maintaining the grid which allows solar users to sell them power.
 
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