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.

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City council you are the ones that allow EPEC to have monopoly over the city and they know that so they will stick it to us because what are you gonna do.

It is not till City Council allows competitors to come in will the pricing game change to keep things competitive. So stop your complaining if your not willing to do that.

Other Electric companies have approuched you many times to come to EP but you stop them so EPEC can keep monopoly.

The people with refrigerated air are getting raped by the El Paso Electric Company because most people have swamp coolers so they use less energy. I have a two bedroom apartment and the bill has been over 200.00 a month and we are never home. I lived in Houston Texas where it is hot like El Paso and lived in a 4 bedroom house and my bill was never over 200.00 I need to put the word out to stay away from El Paso because the electric company is like paying a house note.

My electric bills have been outrageous these last few months!! I want to know why. Especially since I am mindful of not leaving lights and appliances on when they are not in use. I am glad that Niland and City Council are thinking about looking into this. There are several reasons we can't attract big businesses, and this is surely one of them.

I live in a small apartment and i am usually never home. my electric bill came out to $180 this month. This is just ridiculous!

El Paso Electric says: "Save electricity", "Caulk your windows", "Turn off lights when you are not home" and on and on.

So, according to that philosophy, if we all turned off everything, they would charge a hundred times more per KWH, because their "Record profits" would be way down
and we would be using less.

During the last FREEZE and during this long summer with over 105 degree temps, for months, WE DID use a lot more electricity and our bills trippled during those extremes.

We have been told to "save electricity" and in doing so, we have been punished by El Paso Electric Company and charged more per KWH than most places in Texas.

"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.

It doesnt matter how many bad investments that the El Paso Electric has or all their equipment that has to be replaced or fixed because of the last freeze.

The RATE per KWH should be equal or less than any town in Texas.

Just because we USE LESS electricity, per house, does not mean they should charge more KWH.

Good for city council, something that they actually need to put their nose into. El Paso doesnt have refrigerated air and the prices that the electric company charges you are outrages. If the electric company thinks they could'nt handle a simple winter, well, I know they could'nt handle a record breaking heat wave we are having this year. The grid would be offline and there would be deaths on the electric company hands. Lucky for them El Paso doesn't have refrigerated air in every home.

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