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Representative Calls Energy Rate Increase 'Taxation without Representation'

KUT News

State Representative Paul Workman has submitted a letter to Austin City Council on behalf of some of his constituents in southwest Travis County regarding the recently proposed Austin Energy rate increase.  Workman says for those customers that live within the utility's service area, but outside of the city limits, the rate increase amounts to "taxation without representation."

Austin Energy has asked the City Council to approve a 12.5 percent rate increase that would go into effect in April. It would be the first rate increase for the utility in 17 years. 

"What I had asked the City Council to do was to consider a two-tiered rate structure for people within the municipal limits and those who are outside the municipal limits but inside the service area," Workman says.

Workman says at issue is a transfer of funds from Austin Energy to the city's general operating fund.

A group of non-Austin residents are in the process of gathering signatures for a petition to force Austin Energy into a rate case at the Public Utility Commission. Workman isn't involved in the petitioning.

"I had just hoped to be able to persuade the council not to go there, and just to go ahead and set up two rates for those folks outside of the city limits."

Workman says he has yet to hear back from the city.