Request a Consumer Advocate be Hired to Participate in the Austin Energy Rate Case
Residents and Small Businesses Need an Official Advocate to Ensure That Their Electric Rates Are Fair
Austin Energy is off to the races with its latest rate case and doesn’t want to slow down for anything – not even to give time for a consumer advocate to be hired. The utility claims that the accelerated schedule is needed to get rates set before the next budget, but it had a surplus last year, so what’s the hurry? There isn’t any emergency and there is no good reason not to wait for a consumer advocate to look out for residential and small business customers.
Even the state of Texas recognizes the need for a consumer advocate in rate cases and has one as part of every rate case for investor-owned utilities. Our publicly owned utility should at least meet that standard.
The city of Austin did try to hire a consumer advocate but the hiring process had some problems Only two consultants applied and both ended up being disqualified. With all of the people who work on these issues, it’s unacceptable that the city hasn’t found a qualified advocate and hired him or her by this time. Austin Energy ratepayers shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences. The rate case can wait until a consumer advocate is hired and can participate.