EL PASO, TX – The city of El Paso challenged a proposed rate increase by Texas Gas Service (TGS) that would have resulted in an increase of more than $18 million annually for ratepayers in the western region of the state, with the greatest burden falling on border residents.
According to the TGS filing, the average gas bill for small residential customers in El Paso could increase by about $4.39 per month, which was a 12.4% increase. The average gas bill for large residential customers would increase $7.01 per month, or a 13.7% increase. However, the City Council was able to reduce the average residential rate increase to $3.30 per month.
El Paso officials reported that the Commission also approved TGS’s request to consolidate the West Texas service area with the Borger/Skellytown service area and the North Texas area, to the detriment of city ratepayers.
Last week, the City Council authorized the City Council’s attorney to request review of the Texas Railroad Commission’s decision. The Commission has until the end of February to consider any petition in this case.
“It is important for the City Council to weigh in on these types of fare increase proposals and give priority to our residents. We are happy to announce that the City Attorney’s Office was able to save El Paso residential ratepayers more than $34 million over the next six years,” said City Attorney Karla Nieman.
TGS filed a rate increase request with the commission on June 30, 2022, to include a proposed consolidation of the West Texas Service Area (WTSA-El Paso) with the Borger/Skelly City Service Area (BSSA) and the North Texas Service Area (NTSA), which would reduce natural gas rates for the BSSA and NTSA, but increase WTSA-El Paso rates.
The City Council reported in November 2022 that customer size was related to the amount of natural gas consumed per month. El Paso commercial customers could see an increase of $10.46 per month – an increase of about 6% – but only if the utility was able to consolidate its three service areas.