AUSTIN (KXAN) — With triple-digit temperatures almost every day this summer, plenty of people are regularly running their air conditioners.
Bill Oakey has lived in Austin for over 51 years, but he’s never seen his energy bills become so expensive.
“Once you get into the third tier, which is anything above 1000 kilowatt hours, your rates really start to climb,” he said. “It doesn’t take long to see your bill double.”
Oakey said his bill more than doubled between May and early July.
He believes that this record-breaking heatwave will result in record-breaking revenue for Austin Energy.
“They’re going to have more money from this hot season of electric bills than they’ve ever had in their history,” Oakey said.
As a public utility, Austin Energy said it does not make a profit. Instead, spokesman Matt Mitchell said excess revenue is returned to the city.
“Every year when you have increased usage, there are increased revenues that go with that,” he said. “But there are also increased costs many times because of the price of energy.”
Before you even flip the switch, Austin Energy is asking for a base rate increase of around 15 dollars per month for an average resident. This would go into effect in January of 2023.
“We’ve seen since 2020, our base rates really have not been sufficient to cover the expenses that we’re incurring,” Mitchell said.
With costs climbing across all sectors, Oakey fears that this could push folks of the edge when it comes to the cost of living in Austin.
“The last thing that people need right now is two or three different kinds of electric rate shock,” he concluded. “I would like to see the city completely cancel, this rate increase.”
Austin Energy’s proposed base rate will be voted on by Austin City Council this fall.