BTU, CSU respond to higher rate rumors

After extreme cold and days of blackouts, utility customers are nervous their electric rate will go up
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 12:42 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Texans across the state are finally starting to get power back after being in the dark for several days. Customers under Bryan Texas Utilities and College Station Utilities are seeing their power turned back on, too.

Now, many people are worried that their electric rate will go up.

According to BTU, that won’t happen. In a series of tweets sent out Friday morning, BTU assured its customers that utility rates will not spike. The utility company is owned by the City of Bryan and the rates are set by city rate ordinances. BTU’s current rate ordinance can be found here.

When signing up for an electric service you can usually choose from several plans; fixed, variable or indexed rate. Since BTU is a municipal utility they are on a fixed rate plan, meaning the price you pay per kilowatt-hour stays the same throughout your contract. Even if market prices change, the energy rate won’t be affected.

These rates can only be changed if the city council votes to change the electric rate.

But, BTU did warn customers that since usage has most likely gone up due to the extreme cold the city has experienced the last few weeks, customers may see a higher bill than normal.

College Station Utilities sent out a statement to customers Friday addressing some questions many customers have had.

CSU announced they have suspended all delinquent disconnects and late fees until March 1. They also reminded customers that electric utility will never disconnect during freezing weather.

Customers have not been sent bills that reflect electric usage during this week’s winter event. The most recent statements reflect usage only through Feb. 11. CSU did warn that bills covering Feb. 12 through the storm may be higher due to individual usage.

While the cost of supplying all of their services to their customers increased during the winter storm, CSU said they will do their best to cover those costs before raising rates.

“The unanticipated costs of supplying electric, water, and wastewater services to our residents increased significantly during the storm. The city will exhaust all available avenues to cover those costs before considering rate increases. Rates are among the many items the city council and city staff will discuss in August as part of the budget process.”

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