AUSTIN — Citizens are calling on the City Council to prevent Austin Energy rates from raising.
“We cannot keep raising electric rates. People have to live. We have to look out for people in Austin who don’t make $100,000 a year,’ said Bill Oakey.
The activists say Austin Energy want to collect $126 million more a year from all of its customers. They call it a corporate welfare program. They say the proposed rates discourage conservation and the proposal does not include a plan for low-income and fixed-income residents.
Austin Energy submitted its final energy rates increase proposal to City Council on Dec. 14 of last year. The proposal was recommended by the Electric Utility Commission on a split 4 to 3 vote.
Environmental activist Paul Robbins passed out a list of Austin Energy Executive Salaries, ranging from $100,069 to $177,757.
“The entire energy rate case is flawed by lack of process,” Robbins said. “How can people eat and pay rent? It’s just unjust.”
Activists are encouraging all residents to attend a hearing this Thursday at 6 p.m.
“We need to ask City Council to say ‘no’ to this increase,’ said Robbins.
Austin Energy released a statement on Tuesday.
“Austin Energy has not raised based electric rates in 17 years,” said Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis. “At the same time, we’ve continued to increase programs and services for customers and absorbed large increases in the cost of materials. We’ve done a good job of holding the line all these years but we’ve been operating in a deficit the past three years and cannot continue along this path. I want to emphasize that any customer can practically eliminate the increase by taking advantage of our comprehensive energy efficiency programs.”