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Are you an Austin Energy customer? Expect a $20 hike in your monthly bill starting Nov. 1.

Thursday, September 22, 2022 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin Energy says customers should expect to pay an extra $20 a month for their electricity starting in November.

In a memo to City Council, the publicly owned utility said the increase is due to the rising cost of natural gas, among other factors. Council members are expected to sign off on the rate increase next week.

According to the memo, Austin Energy raises what it calls pass-through rates each year. This year’s uptick is due in part to the utility’s success during the February 2021 blackout, when it made a profit by putting electricity back on Texas’ electric grid. That profit had allowed the utility to charge customers less. Austin Energy said it is raising the pass-through rate now to reflect current costs.

Austin Energy announced earlier this year that it’s also raising its base rates for customers to offset a $48 million gap in revenue. Under its rate proposal, the utility will charge $16 more a month for the average household and raise its service fee from $10 to $25.

Critics argued the new pricing will unfairly burden low-income customers and those who use the least energy. After pushback, the utility revised its initial estimate. That increase will take effect after City Council approves the utility’s proposal in November.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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