In paperwork filed this month at the Texas Public Utility Commission, Oncor, the electric utility serving customers around Dallas and Fort Worth, has indicated its intention to increase rates by $19 million annually.

In seeking the increase, Oncor has invoked “Distribution Cost Recovery Factor” rules that allow utilities to increase rates on an annual basis to reflect new capital expenditures on distribution systems.  The Texas Legislature authorized the DCRF mechanism in 2011 under heavy lobby pressure by Houston’s CenterPoint Energy.

The DCRF rules permit utilities to have their rate requests reviewed at the PUC in an accelerated fashion, but they also allow interested parties (including city groups like the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor, TCAP’s sister organization) standing to intervene in those reviews.

Oncor’s proposed rate hike would add about 22 cents to a typical 1,000 kilowatt-hour bill and take effect in September.

Separately AEP Texas, which serves a wide swath of north, central and south Texas, has filed a petition to increase the DCRF portion of its rates for residential customers in its North Division by about 25 percent. However, the utility, in its filing, also calls for a slight decrease in DCRF rates in its Central Division.

These changes would reflect an approximately $3.9 million increase in the revenue requirement for the North Division and approximately $800,000 decrease for the Central Division, according to the company filing.

— R.A. Dyer

What is the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power?

TCAP is a coalition of more than 150 cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.