Austin Energy asks City Council to approve rate increase

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Energy wants you to pay more on your electric bills to make up for rising costs. The increase would be split between two charges you see on your bill.

The total will add $4.67 to the average monthly bill. If city council approves the increase during budget talks, customers will see the cost split between the “Regulatory Charge” and the “Power Supply Adjustment Charge.”

“I don’t feel too good about it,” said East Austin resident Earlene Love. She never finds the energy bill increases exactly welcome, but says they are inevitable. “If that’s what they have to do, that’s what they have to do.”

Austin Energy raised base rates for the first time in 18 years in 2012. Since then, KXAN has uncovered numerous billing errors by Austin Energy. The utility also handles billing for Austin Water, and received a slew of complaints from customers this past winter.

“The quantity of water I was being billed for would be we would be sitting on a sinkhole or something,” said Tom Entsminger, a customer who was overbilled for his water usage.

Austin Energy is in the process of gathering customer feedback. Emails were sent to customers to take an online survey. There are no questions about rates and billing, but the survey asks your opinion on customer service, and simply, if you are satisfied with the company.

“We’ve had nothing but good experiences; moved from four different places now with Austin Energy,” said customer John Brookbank. “We’re moving into a new place again, and we had a good experience on the phone, switching things over.”

Austin City Council still has to approve the rate changes. That could happen during their budget session at the end of the summer.

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