Mayor Annise Parker announces the City of Houston Challenge to CenterPoint Energy Electric Rate Increase
July 28, 2010 --Mayor Annise Parker announced today that the City of Houston will not be approving CenterPoint Energy’s request for an electric rate increase for Houston customers.
On June 30, 2010, CenterPoint Energy filed a request to change rates for Houston customers. If CenterPoint’s proposed rates went unchallenged, the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would experience an increase in their monthly electric bill of approximately 5 percent, or $5.53 per month, assuming an existing retail rate of $0.1115 per kWh. CenterPoint is proposing to increase rates for residential customers, while decreases are proposed for certain rate classes of commercial and industrial customers.
With a reported 760,000 in-city residential customers within the Houston service area, a proposed monthly increase of $5.53 for residential customers equates to an annual increase in revenues of approximately $50.6 million for CenterPoint. CenterPoint is also requesting an additional $7 million increase in its rates for streetlights, which will directly affect the City of Houston as a customer.
Unless the city takes action, the proposed rates will go into effect on August 4, 2010. By law, the city can suspend or deny CenterPoint’s proposed rate change. The Mayor is recommending that the rates be suspended, rather than denied altogether, to allow the city’s experts to review the proposed rate increase to determine if it is justified, or if a rate reduction might be in order.
CenterPoint is also requesting a streamlined ratemaking mechanism, known as a Distribution Cost Recovery Factor (“DCRF”). This mechanism would make it even easier for them to raise rates, with minimal oversight or regulation.
As part of its review process, the city will conduct two public meetings to allow ratepayers the opportunity to voice quality of service concerns and/or objections to the proposed rate increase. The meetings will be held on August 17, 2010 and August 24, 2010, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., on the Public Level at 900 Bagby. All Houston customers served by CenterPoint Energy are welcome to attend.