There’s bad news for consumers seeking the best electricity rates in Dallas.
ONCOR wants to raise its transmission and distribution rates on April 21. If the 7.5 rate increase would take effect, it will add to the TDU charge portion of your monthly electric bill. More than 10 million customers across Texas would see higher bills. Some Texas towns face their Oncor residential rates increasing by 11.8% and are organizing to postpone the increase.
Oncor’s total cost of service would go up by $317 million, increasing the company’s revenue to a sorely needed $4.5 billion.
The PUC received ONCOR’s petition for the increase on March 17. While Oncor requested the increase in just a few weeks, it’s likely that the review process will takes months, wrapping up by the end of the year. For it’s part, the PUC asked Oncor for information on the increase on March 31.
Oncor justifies the increase stating it has made substantial investments in its transmission and distribution system (ie, power lines), including 2,750 miles of new and rebuilt transmission lines and distribution substations to connect 280,000 new customers. Between June, 2010 and December, 2016, the company says it spent about $644 million per year on transmission improvements totaling $4.2 billion — of which $1.8 billion went to developing the competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) project linking eastern cities with cheap Texas wind power.
Oncor’s last rate review was in 2011.
The company has also applied to impose a minimum charge of $40 a month on Texas households that installed solar panels, wind turbines and storage batteries. The company argues that the distributed generation of about 10,000 of its residential customers cost Oncor $1.6 million last year because they bought less electricity but retained their ties to the grid. Oncor wants these consumers to pay for their share of grid upkeep, even though they don’t buy as much electricity as their neighbors.
The proposed rate increases doesn’t come as a total surprise as PUC approval of the sale of Oncor for $18.7 billion is up in the air.
If the PUC blocks Oncor’s sale, it’s back to lining up a new buyer and starting the whole purchase and review process over…again.