City: Local Texas Gas Service customers to only pay proportionate share of 2021 Winter Storm Impacts

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Natural gas stove. Getty Images

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Officials with the City of El Paso announced Tuesday afternoon that natural gas customers in the Borderland won’t have to bear as much of the cost incurred by the utility during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

According to a release regarding the settlement between Texas Gas Service (TGS) and the City of El Paso, the average household will pay a surcharge of approximately $5.22 per month over an estimated 3-year period, or a total of $188 for extraordinary costs incurred by TGS for its West Texas service area due to the February freeze.

Originally, TGS sought to group El Paso with other communities across Texas to recover extraordinary costs associated with Winter Storm Uri through a uniform surcharge rate.

Under the original proposal, an average El Paso household would have paid $4.33 per month over a 10-year period, or a total of $520 for extraordinary costs due to Winter Storm Uri.

City officials share that the originally proposed surcharge rate did not consider the varying impact of the storm across the state, particularly with respect to western Texas where the storm was relatively less severe and therefore should only be responsible for covering the proportionate share of extraordinary costs incurred due to the weather.

At the direction of City Council, the City of El Paso intervened in the proceedings to represent the interests of the City and residents. As an intervenor, the City filed testimony asserting that El Paso-based customers were effectively subsidizing costs incurred by gas utilities in other parts of Texas more severely impacted by Winter Storm Uri.

In addition to securing separate recovery for El Paso to ensure area residents pay only their proportionate share of costs; under the settlement, gas utilities agreed to lower their securitization request. Through its intervention and advocacy, the City of El Paso was able to obtain a cost savings of $196 million for TGS’s West Texas customers.

City of el paso

The settlement is subject to final approval by the Railroad Commission of Texas at its Wednesday, November 10 meeting.

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