Photo courtesy EP Electric – City of El Paso
The El Paso City Council voted unanimously to deny El Paso Electric’s (EPE) proposed rate increase.
“The City has been a strong advocate for its residents, and that advocacy in the previous five rate cases filed by EPE since January 1994 has resulted in nearly $155 million in savings, or an average $31 million per rate case,” said City Attorney Karla Nieman.
In June, the City Council voted unanimously to suspend the rate increase proposed by EPE for its Texas retail customers. The suspension provided the City time to review the proposed rate change and prepare for the public hearing to determine if the proposed increase is fair, just and reasonable; while allowing the utility to be financially healthy and invest appropriately in its infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable service.
The City will next negotiate a settlement and if a settlement is not reached the case will go before the Public Utility Commission of Texas in January.
By State statute, EPE is required to file its comprehensive base rate case every four years. In this case, the filing was required to be made no later than mid-December 2021. In its application, EPE cites the need to recover costs associated with over $953 million in investments made into its generation, transmission and distribution system, since its last base rate case filed in early 2017. To recover costs associated with these investments, EPE is proposing an annual net increase to its base rate of $41.8 million.
According to EPE’s application, the majority of the $41.8 million increase will be borne by residential customers, EPE’s largest customer class. Under the proposed rate increase, the typical residential customer would see an average increase of about $10.54 a month.
This proposed rate increase is in addition to the increases associated with the proposed Advanced Metering System filed on April 19, 2021; the Energy Efficiency Program filed on May 3, 2021; and the recent adjustments for fuel costs under collection made effective during the first billing cycle of May 2021.
Furthermore, EPE recently filed an additional fuel surcharge on September 15, 2021, in an effort to recover an under collection of fuel costs of nearly $45 million. Together, and once fully implemented, these rate adjustments could result in an average monthly bill increase of approximately $25.03.