City Council Investigates Claims of Unfair Electricity Rates
POSTED: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 4:29pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 3:25pm
EL PASO- Many El Pasoans have been complaining that their electricity rates are too high and now the City of El Paso agrees.
Today, council started the process to hear from El Paso Electric about how much we pay. City representative Courtney Niland wants to make sure El Pasoans aren't being overcharged for their electricity.
"I have done a preliminary investigation into the fact that I believe that El Paso Electric is over-charging therefore over-earning and we need to make sure our city can be economically competitive," says Niland.
Representative Niland says high electricity rates affect us at our homes and make El Paso unattractive for businesses to settle here.
"Our electric rates are twice as high as other areas that we're competing with for jobs and businesses then it makes it not competitive and we can't grow," says Niland.
Before rates can be adjusted, city leaders have to justify their reasons to question El Paso Electric. Rates haven’t changed in 15 years. But last year the city decided to investigate what we pay for power.
"We went through a year and saw whether or not that could be justified or whether it was appropriate or inappropriate and we're looking now and there are a lot of cases where they are over charging and over earning," says Niland.
A representative from the El Paso Electric company says they will be filing for a rate increase.
"Since then, our investment has increased by $262 million net after depreciation so we'll be asking for an increase based upon that higher investment," says Richard Fleager.
Fleager also says El Pasoans’ electricity rates look high because usage is low, but that shouldn't affect your budget.
"El Pasoans’ bills are the lowest in the state and so when people get their bills they have the lowest bills," says Richard.
City council and El Paso Electric will meet again to discuss whether a rate case will be heard. If rates are changed, you wouldn't notice it on your bill for about a year.