More than $650,000 in electricity rebate checks are being distributed this month to scores of cities and other political subdivisions — an unexpected holiday boon courtesy of the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.
More than 85 percent of TCAP’s 168 member cities and political subdivisions will receive the checks. The disbursements varied from city to city, depending upon electric usage and other factors.
“This is another way that Texas cities benefit from their TCAP membership,” said Dr. Randy Moravec, TCAP executive director. “Our non-profit coalition is operated by cities and for cities. That’s why surplus funds go back to our members and not into the pockets of electric companies. TCAP contracts also deliver long-term savings to cities and rock-solid protections against electric market volatility that otherwise wreaks havoc on city budgets.”
TCAP is a non-profit coalition of cities that have joined together to purchase power in bulk for their own governmental use. Through the power of its numbers, TCAP negotiates competitively-priced energy contracts that also include important member protections. City officials oversee the non-profit coalition.
The reimbursements announced this week are not the first — since 2011, TCAP members have received more than $7.3 million in refund checks. TCAP members around the Houston area, in South Texas and around the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex were awarded the most recent disbursements. The checks varied in size from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
The City of Arlington received more than $84,000 during 2014 alone and more than $446,000 since 2011. The city used much of the money to retrofit municipal buildings with energy efficiency upgrades, said TCAP Board President Jay Doegey, who also serves as Arlington’s City Attorney.
Corpus Christi received more than $162,000 during 2014 and more than $812,000 since 2011. McAllen received more than $60,000 during 2014 and more than $306,000 since 2011. Smaller communities have received smaller checks, such as the more than $12,000 disbursed to the City of Dickinson since 2011, and the more than $91,000 distributed to the City of North Richland Hills since 2011.
“This is another great benefit of TCAP membership,” said Teclo Garcia, Director of Government Affairs for the City of McAllen. “These end-of-the-year rebates come as great news both for our city budget writers and our taxpayers. Extra money always helps.”
TCAP, thanks to its unique contract, received refunds from its supplier for technical services procured by the state’s grid operator that cost less than anticipated. The coalition holds back a certain amount to meet contractually-required reserves, and then refunds the rest back to members. This is in contrast to for-profit retail electric providers, who often retain this excess margin.
TCAP member cities in West Texas did not receive refunds this year for reasons relating to power transmission and distribution constraints in the West Zone of the ERCOT grid. However, TCAP member cities in West Texas typically enjoy the lowest energy charges among TCAP members.
TCAP also provides members a number of other important services, including access to professional energy consultants and advocacy before the Texas Legislature and state regulators. 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.
For more information about TCAP, or to learn how your city can become a member, go to tcaptx.com.