CenterPoint Energy Plans Rate Increase For Tyler

The City of Tyler is preparing for another rate increase battle against CenterPoint Energy.  The gas company is planning an 11 percent increase for Tyler residential customers, that would go in effect next month.

CenterPoint said it's part of an effort to give all the East Texas cities it services a unified rate. In Tyler, it would affect almost 26,000 residents. However, the city is making plans to take action.
"We knew it was coming although we're a little surprised that it came so soon," said Mayor Pro Tem, Derrick Choice.

Early Friday morning, CenterPoint Energy presented the city of Tyler its plan for a rate hike.

"I think we've already kind of resolved that we are going to join in the fight," Choice said.  Tyler will now be among 19 other Texas cities fighting CenterPoint rate increases.

Choice said the city council will likely vote to suspend the increase.  "We think that the rates are too high already," Choice said.

CenterPoint officials said the rate is in line with what they have done in other cities.  "These same rates except for city taxes and things like that have been in effect in the areas around Tyler since April 25th," said Fred Carl, District Manager for CenterPoint Energy.

But, the question from citizens: How much more will they pay?

CenterPoint said the average customer uses about 49 units of gas a month. With the new rate of 11 percent, customers would pay at least $5 more. However, that does not take in for any cost adjustment fees or the winter energy surge.

"When the winter time rolls around we're concerned about what we we're told could be as much as a 20 percent increase," Derrick Choice said.

This past winter, some CenterPoint customers saw their bills increase by 300 percent. Choice said the city's goal is to keep that from happening again.

The Tyler City Council could officially take action when the council meets on Wednesday, August 17th.

If the rate increase is not suspended, it would go in to effect for Tyler citizens September 9th.

Maya Golden reporting,