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AUSTIN ENERGYS PROPOSED RATE PLAN

Issues for Faith Communities

Texas Impact
Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission
December 2011
Austin Energy is undergoing its rst rate review in 17 years. Because Austin Energy is a municipally owned
utility, the Austin City Council must approve any changes to the utilitys rate structure. Austin Energy has spent
more than a year collecting and analyzing data, developing a new rate plan, and explaining the plan to city
leaders and ratepayers. On December 14, 2011, Austin Energy staff presented the rate plan to Austin City
Council members. On January 12, 2012, City Council has scheduled a public hearing to give Austin residents
the opportunity to testify on the proposal. City Council can then approve the plan; approve it with changes; or
tell Austin Energy to start over.
If Austin Energys proposed new rate structure is implemented in its current form, many Austin congregations
would experience a doubling of their electric bills over the next three years. While the exact increase will vary
for each congregation, worship facilities as a group would experience an average increase of more than 80
percent, far greater than the planned increases for most of Austin Energys other customer classes.
Faith communities make up a tiny fraction of Austin Energys customer base: Altogether, Austins 621 worship
facilities account for roughly $5 millionjust 1/2 of 1 percent of Austin Energys $1.03 billion in annual revenue.
Clearly, everyone needs to bear some share of the burden for rising energy costsbut an 80 percent increase
in rates on ones mall customer class is an unacceptable burden.
There are options available to the utility that would prevent the disproportionate burdening of the faith
community. Minimal changes to the rate design would give individual congregations exibility to choose their
rate class.Alternatively, the utility could scale back its economic development spending or reduce its extremely
generous reserve requirements, either of which would permit a reduction in rate increasesnot only for
worship facilities but across every class of customer.
Austin can continue to be a leader in clean, affordable energy without disproportionately burdening
one class of customer. Together, we can arrive at a solution that meets the needs of our community.

ISSUES IN THE RATE PLAN


Houses of Worship: An 80 percent increase on houses of worship would be a disproportionate burden.
Worship facilities consume energy generally on nights and weekends, when electricity is cheaper and stress is
low on the grid, but these factors have not been considered adequately in the proposed plan.
Low Income Ratepayers: For disadvantaged ratepayers, the proposal covers only half of the need for
immediate bill assistance, and is silent on whether low and moderate-income households will be in Austin
Energys energy-efciency plans. Texas Impact believes that the Customer Assistance Program (CAP) should
be funded and structured to cover more households than is currently envisioned. The proposed funding would
cover only about half of the expected need. The proposal looks to cover about 25,000 customers, but with 1 in
5 people in Austin living below federal poverty, there are at least 50,000 customers in need. Furthermore, lowincome households also need a more permanent solution to reduce energy consumption. The proposed line
item for energy efciency is projected to raise about $28 million. A share of that funding should be dedicated
to energy efciency for low and moderate-income homes to help permanently lower their bills and provide
equitable benets to those ratepayers from the clean energy economy.
Clean Energy Future: The rate plan does not provide sufcient incentives to achieve Austins ambitious energy efciency and renewable energy goals, and in some cases would penalize ratepayers for improvements
they have already made such as on-site solar installations.

This chart shows current electricity


costs for all worship facilities for
which Austin Energy maintains
demand meters. AE does not
maintain demand meters for 111
worship facilities currently. Most
facilities with demand meters use
less than 30 KW per month on
average.

Current Electric Costs for Austin Worship Facilities

The chart below shows the expected


increase for worship facilities under
Austin Energys proposed plan. Under
this plan, facilities would be charged
according to their peak demand,
not just according to total energy
consumeed.

Projected Electric Costs for Austin Worship Facilities Under Austin Energys Proposed Rate Design
KW Group

0-10 KW

10-20 KW

20-30 KW

30-40 KW

# of
Facilities

Annual
Usage
(KWH)

Avg.
Monthly
(KWH)

40-50 KW

60-70 KW

50-60 KW
70-80 kW
80-90 kW

90-100 KW

100-120 kW
120-140 kW
140-160 kW

Sum Max Avg. Max


KW
KW

Avg.
Load
Factor

Customer
Charge

Electric
Delivery
Charge

Demand
Charge

Regulatory Charge

Energy Charge

Community
Benet

Projected New
Cost

160-180 KW

200-300 KW

180-200 KW
300+ KW

Total*

511

41,641,299

38,665

24,611

19.3%

$256,896.00

$1,298,160.00

$2,513,048.00

$751,692.00

$2,123,023.42

$147,663.78

$7,090,483.19

Projected Weighted Average Electric Cost Increase for All Austin


Worship Facilities Under AEs Proposed Rate Plan

This chart shows the


weighted average
percentage increase in
electric costs across all
worship facilities in Austin
under Austin Energys
proposed rate plan. The
chart shows that the
increase would fall most
heavily on small and very
small facilities, which
account for about half of
Austins worship facilities
for which Austin Energy
maintains demand meters.

Texas Impact/Texas Baptists

December 2011

This chart shows the projected


increase in electric costs by
customer type for Austin Energy
ratepayers under the proposed
rate plan. The chart shows that
worship facilities as a group would
experience a rate shock with
an expected increase nearly four
times as steep as the next-highest
increase.

This chart shows the average


consumption curve for worship
facilities. As expected, it shows
that worship facilitites as a class
consume electricity most heavily
during weekends, which are
considered to be off-peak hours.

Texas Impact/Texas Baptists

December 2011

For more information contact Joshua Houston at josh@texasimpact.org or 512-472-3903.

Texas Impact/Texas Baptists

December 2011

370

Total Annual

365

Total Annual

Read Date

Days in
Cycle

655,800

31.5%

Avg. LF%

$780.00

$12,483

$20,498

$7,129

$32,737

$2,289

$70,913

$2,915.37

Current Bill

$75,916

$6,600.72

Total
Projected
Bill

Community
Total
Current
Benet
Projected Bill
Bill

$115.35

Community
Benet

Energy
Charge

$1,692.63

Energy
Charge

Regulatory
Charge

$896.94

Regulatory
Charge

Demand
Charge

Demand
Charge

Electric
Delivery
Charge

Electric
Delivery
Charge

Customer
Charge

$300.00

Customer
Charge

KW
Demand Avg. LF%

30.63

KW
Demand

KWH
Usage

30,040

Sample Large Facility

KWH
Usage

Read Date

Days in
Cycle

Sample Medium-Sized Facility

Impact of Proposed Rate Plan on Representative Worship Facilities

7%

%
Increase

126.41%

% Increase