EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Electric said on Friday that its Texas customers will see an increase in their electric bill starting in May because of an increase in fuel costs.
The company said typical residential customers with an average use of 935 kWh per summer month will see an estimated monthly increase of $5.80, or 5 percent, on their total electric bill.
“Since 2017, we received approval from the PUCT (Public Utility Commission of Texas) to issue our Texas customers fuel refunds since gas prices were at historic lows; however, in late 2020 we began to see fuel prices return to normal levels,” said EPE President and CEO Kelly A. Tomblin.
“While since then we were under collecting on fuel costs, as this is a pass-through charge to our customers, we made an active choice not to file for an increase to the fixed fuel factor knowing the impact the pandemic has had on many,” Tomblin continued. “This is why we are working diligently with community organizations who are connecting customers to utility payment assistance.”
This will be the first increase to the fixed fuel factor since 2017. In the last four years, EPE has issued three fuel refunds.
“When we were calculating what this fixed fuel factor would be, we decided to self-impose a cap on the amount we would collect,” added Tomblin. “Without the self-imposed cap, the average increase to total bills would have stood around $9. So, if we raise the fuel factor now, then it will help prevent a higher increase later.”
On Friday, the company received preliminary approval to adjust the fixed fuel factor, which is designed to recover the cost of the fuel used to generate electricity. EPE said it incurs supplying electricity to customers.
This filing is not related to the winter freeze event experienced in Texas earlier this year.
Those customers that may need assistance on their electric bill can reach out to Project Amistad, Project Bravo or El Paso Electric to discuss possible options. Contact El Paso Electric’s Customer Care Team at CustomerCare@epelectric.com, by phone at (915) 543-5970, or visit epelectric.com and search Assistance Programs.