Texas Gas Service to seek rate hike
Texas Gas Service, who provides natural gas to most of the Austin area, has announced its plans to raise its rates by summer.
Under the proposal, the typical home would pay, on average, an additional $1.20 each month. A typical business would pay $4.35 more; a large business, $65.41; and an industrial manufacturer, $19.44, according to estimates provided by the City of Austin.
The gas company says it needs to collect more money to pay mainly for pipe replacement, as well as for new automated meters around the area. The company is seeking the increase under a specific section of state law that allows it to raise rates to recoup the cost of construction projects; the rate increase would not be allowed to cover other expenses.
City council members will vote Thursday to delay the increase until May, which would give city staff time to review the company's proposal. If the city determines that the company has not inflated its costs, the city must approve the proposal. The company has approximately 228,000 Austin-area customers, with some living in outlying areas such as Cedar Park, Kyle, Rollingwood, Sunset Valley and West Lake Hills.
The increase could add a one-two punch to Austin area homeowners, as City Council expects to decide in May what kind of rate increase they will approve for Austin Energy.