Texas Gas Service gets approval to raise rates

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For customers who have natural gas through Texas Gas Service, your bill will now be more expensive.

On Thursday night, the Austin City Council approved Texas Gas Service’s proposal to raise rates for most residents in Central Texas. This impacts about 200,000 residential customers as well as school districts and thousands of businesses.

The increase is on the customer service charge, that funds the delivery of the gas to the home which is separate from the cost of gas.

The increase would amount to an additional $1.62 for residential customers – bringing that portion of the bill to $14.24. For commercial customers it would be $6.65 — bringing that portion of the bill to about $123.

The new rates will go into effect on May 27.

Sandra Waller has seen decades worth of change in Austin.

“I feel like I get to call Texas home. I’ve been here, well, 74 years.”

She says a change in her utility bill would hurt.

“It’s a crying shame, it makes it hard for people like me and my husband and my family to even live here any more,” said Waller.

She says she’s not alone.

“I’ve got about three neighbors, if I had known you were coming, I would’ve gotten them, you think I’m bad!” she said.

Council delayed a vote on this hike since February so a consultant could examine if the increase was appropriate and they determined it was.

The additional revenue generated from the service charge increase is slated to go towards recovering costs Texas Gas Service invested to improve its facilities.

Last year the company spent $38 million and stated this is the way they earn a return on their investment.

One local business is also weighing in on the issue.

“They’re reaping the benefit. We’re not, we’re getting the same service. We have no new infrastructure downtown connecting gas to buildings,” said Bob Woody, a restaurant owner and president of the East Sixth Community Association.

Both agree the price of gas now isn’t too costly, but an increase will be a hard pill to swallow.

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