Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Austin Energy customers can expect to see another increase to their December bills

Austin Energy power lines stand out against a gray sky near the Domain area on Feb. 1, 2023.
Patricia Lim
The increase is for pass-through charges that Austin Energy pays to ERCOT, the state's power grid operator.

Lee esta historia en español

Austin Energy customers should expect to see another increase to their utility bills starting Friday. The city’s energy company said customers will see a 5%, or about $2 per month, bump.

Matt Mitchell, a spokesperson for Austin Energy, said the increase is for what is called a pass-through charge that the utility company pays to the state’s power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

“This is purely for cost recovery,” Mitchell said. “It only goes to pay the utility back for money that the utility already spent on behalf of our customers for power during this extremely hot summer and during the cold winter months as well.”

The change comes after customers saw an increase this month of slightly more than $2 in their monthly energy bills. Residents also saw increases in water bills and other city fees, including trash, this year. Previously, residents were told to expect an increase of about $14 per month or $172 per year in combined utilities, according to the city's tax impact statement. The new increase means residents should expect to pay about $24 more on top of that.

Austin has worked to expand its customer assistance program that gives discounts to low-income residents and others in need. Utility bill discounts can help reduce bills by an average of $560 a year, according to the city.

“That program is there and we want people to use it,” Mitchell said. “Certainly around the holidays, we know things can get tight. If for some reason you are falling into financial distress please call us. Do not wait.”

With climate change making weather less predictable, Mitchell said, the energy market is volatile. Unpredictability means the pass-through charges could change again.

“In order to continue to provide the level of service that our customers have come to expect, this is something that we will have to continue to look at month-to-month to make sure we are recovering those funds and staying in good financial standing,” he said.

Mitchell encouraged residents to conserve energy when possible, which can also help flatten the curve for these pass-through charges. For example, lowering the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter months can help conserve energy and lower utility bills.

“The less power we use, the less we have to purchase,'' Mitchell said. “Take those small steps to minimize when possible – while still comfortable and safe – your energy usage. Because that means we need to purchase less energy and can pass on lower costs to our customers.”

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
Related Content