I’m guessing this article isn’t going to garner a lot of positive responses from people, and that is completely understandable. There was an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram recently discussing how Oncor might raise rates again. The reason isn’t entire clear, but the language chosen to describe it is pretty interesting. The article says:
“Oncor, as a result of reduced electricity consumption, isn’t earning the rate of return that it is allowed by the Texas Public Utility Commission.”
I think the obvious part of this statement that is likely upset people is “isn’t returning the rate of return that is allowed.” My interpretation of this is that they’re not making as much money as they could be making. Now, as a company regulated by a government agency, obviously there’s only so much profit they can make, which I get. But they’re not making enough now, in a down economy so they’re going to increase rates so they can make more?
One of the benefits of the deregulated electricity markets is that it forces customers to be aware of their rates, as well as their consumption. The article mentions that in these hard economic times, people are consuming less electricity than they have in the past, and as a result Oncor is making less money than they expected, and less than they’re allowed. I’m sorry, is there any other way to interpret this statement other than people are being responsible in hard economic times, so Oncor has to increase the their fees. Shouldn’t they suffer through hard economic times as equally as their customers? Customers have been doing a good job saving money so be sure to fine them more? Seems wrong.
Does anyone know anything more about how this works that can shed some light on this? The article doesn’t say that Oncor was running at a loss or deficit that would explain the need for more revenue. Maybe there’s more to the story that we’re missing.