News

CenterPoint Energy Wants Rate Hikes For Electricity And Gas

CenterPoint Energy has confirmed to News 88.7 that it will file a request to charge more for delivering electricity to your home. It also wants an increase for natural gas in some cities outside Houston.

CenterPoint power station
CenterPoint’s power station in downtown Houston. Photo by Dave Fehling

 

Next Monday, CenterPoint Energy says it will file a rate hike request with the Texas Public Utility Commission. According to a CenterPoint spokesperson, Houston is growing so much that the company has had to spend millions on new power lines and other equipment and now needs to recover some of those costs.

Consumer advocates familiar with the request say the increase will be for $16.7 million a year, amounting to additional 31 cents a month for the average residential customer.  

That may not sound like much. But the advocates say CenterPoint doesn’t need a dime more, let alone millions.

As we reported last fall, as a regulated utility, Centerpoint made $47 million in “excess profits” in 2013. An attorney with the Gulf Coast Association of Cities, Thomas Brocato, told News 88.7 that in light of that, it’s surprising that CenterPoint would now be asking state regulators for a rate increase.

In an emailed response, CenterPoint indicated that its balance sheet is no longer showing “excess profits” and therefore, it says it has every right under Texas regulations to now ask to recover part of what it spent on making improvements.

In a separate rate hike request filed last week with the Texas Railroad Commission, CenterPoint is asking to raise rates for natural gas it provides through its Texas Coast Division. The territory lies outside Houston and includes Baytown, Texas City, Richmond, Sugar Land and Lake Jackson. The request is for $6.8 million a year and would amount to a $1.31 a month increase for the average residential customer according to the Gulf Coast Association of Cities.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required

Share

Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

More Information