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Robbins protests gas company’s budget

Friday, December 1, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Local consumer advocate Paul Robbins has filed an appeal challenging the effectiveness of the conservation program being used by Texas Gas Service. As a customer of the utility, Robbins asserts that he has a right to challenge what is called the Conservation Adjustment Clause for Central Texas.

In his appeal, Robbins says that the gas company’s own documentation shows it is not saving resources in a cost-effective manner. According to Robbins, the utility is spending “about $1.2 million, or about $5 per residential customer that will be misspent for programs that are not cost-effective in the next budget year.”

Texas Gas Service spokesperson Larry Graham said that as far as he knows this is the first time such an appeal has been filed at the commission. He said the programs are used to give rebates to customers who buy gas-powered appliances, including water heaters and furnaces.

Robbins complains that 43 percent of Texas Gas Service’s residential conservation budget will be spent on programs that waste money. In addition, he says the consultant for the gas company failed to consider administrative overhead when they figured the cost of the program, so he said the numbers are not even accurate.

The city of Austin’s Resource Management Commission recommended approval and the Austin Office of Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs administratively approved the conservation budget.

Graham told the Austin Monitor that his company is “exploring what the railroad commission’s jurisdiction is” in this situation.

Photo by Lisafern (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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