Dallas City Council approves energy rate hike

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM

DALLAS -- Dallas City Council members, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, previously expressed that they didn't want higher energy rates for the citizens of Dallas.

But after evaluating litigation costs to fight Atmos for cheaper rates, and Atmos' promise to reinvest $260 million back into the city of Dallas, the council voted yes on increasing the rates.

Starting June 1, energy rates will go up by almost $26. That breaks down to about $2.08 cents more per month.

The decision to increase rates will generate the city of Dallas about 2.3 million additional dollars for its budget, plus 30 miles of new cast iron.

Atmos will pay at their own expense to improve infrastructure. Mayor Rawlings says this will significantly improve the safety of Dallas residents.

Dallas city leaders say the negotiated deal renders a rate hike that is 80 cents less than what regional cities are paying.

But the city of Fort Worth, which is also facing a similar rate hike, rejected Atmos' offer on Tuesday night. The decision came after council members determined that Atmos is allegedly asking for 50 percent more in additional revenue than needed.

News 8 is told Atmos will likely appeal Fort Worth's rejection to the Railroad Commission, which makes the final determination.

While the appeal is pending, Fort Worth residents will still be forced to pay a rate hike with the hope that Atmos will refund customers if the appeal is denied by the commission.

Additionally, because the average residential consumption in Fort Worth is slightly less than in the system overall, the average Fort Worth residential customer is expected to experience an overall increase of $1.92 per month compared to the $2.02 shown to officials.

It's all a big pinch in the pocket for North Texas already struggling to pay their bills.

E-mail: sgables@wfaa.com

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