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Houston City Council Rebuffs CenterPoint Distribution Rate Hike

May 17, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

Not so fast, said the Houston City Council last week about CenterPoint’s filing of a distribution cost recovery fee (DCRF) request (Docket No. 45747) with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).

The council voted unanimously on May 11 to deny the utility’s application for an increase of close to $50 million for the period from September 1, 2016, through August 31, 2017 – which would cost the average residential customer $1.07 per month (87 cents per month for the first year).

According to the utility’s application, the increase in fees “would affect all retail electric providers (REPs) serving end-use retail electric customers in CenterPoint Houston’s certificated service territory and will affect the retail electric customers of those REPs to the extent that the REPs choose to pass along those charges to their customers under the company’s DCRF tariff.”

If the DCRF requested in the application is approved, CenterPoint Houston’s distribution revenues will increase by approximately $49,351,913 on an annual basis for the stated period; and by$60,596,164 thereafter, as compared to the distribution revenues approved in the utility’s most recent rate case, Docket No. 38339 in 2011.

The action today was simply saying that we need to take time to challenge it and we’re not agreeing to it,” Mayor Sylvester Turner told Houston Public Media, “because we’re still making a determination.”

The final decision, however, will be made by the PUCT.

The same happened in 2015 when the commission granted a negotiated rate hike after Houston and others had denied it. However, that was a substantially lower increase. A hearing is set for June.

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