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Fath seeks lower fees for small businesses

Friday, August 25, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Shudde Fath, Austin’s oldest and longest serving city commissioner, is lobbying City Council to lower what are called “demand charges” for the 4,210 Austin Energy customers who use between 10 and 20 kilowatts. In a letter to Council this week, Fath points out that she helped convince the 2014 Council to reinstitute hookup fees for utility users. At the time, she notes, city staff estimated the new fees would bring in $14.5 million in new revenue by Fiscal Year 2017-18. The actual revenue for those fees so far this year has been $26.6 million, she said, and the projected revenue for next year is $25 million. Fath, who turned 101 earlier this year, claims that Austin Energy is charging its second-lowest tier of customers what she considers to be an excessive rate. Fath said her proposal is revenue neutral, and besides, she said she thinks, “Austin Energy owes me one. Please help these 4,210 small commercial customers (out of AE’s more than 460,000 customers).” Whether she gets her wish or not, Fath, who has served on the Electric Utility Commission since it was started, stands as an example of one who never gives up and never thinks she is too old to serve her community.

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