CenterPoint And City Officials Disagree Over Proposed Rate Hike

In one corner the City of Tyler. The other corner, CenterPoint Energy's Fred Carl. They meet again to discuss the city's request for more data, justifying an 11% rate hike. CenterPoint Energy says that request is the same as the city denying the increase.
"If there's any question about what we want, we'll ask this entire council here," says Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber in Wednesday's City Council Meeting. "Did anybody have any other intention than to simply ask for more information within that 90 day period? Did anybody have any other intention? No! Do you see the heads here. No! So that's what we want. Is that clear now?," asks Mayor Seeber to Fred Carl.
"We'll just have to wait for a third party to address this," replies Carl.
So CenterPoint took it's case to the Texas Railroad Commission to appeal. The city says it's another smoke screen that's got them all fired up.
"I understand that CenterPoint would love to be in Austin before the railroad commission. I understand why and I bet everybody else understands why because you get what you want from the commission," says Mayor Seeber.
With glasses on, Carl points out data the city says it's been asking for all along. Data within the last year CenterPoint is basing the 11% rate increase on. But the city disputes that information has not been made public record, especially to Tyler customers. "You have a xerox machine, you can run a copy of that and send it here and send all of us a copy of it!," exclaims District 6 City Councilmember Charles Alworth.
The city filed a motion to clarify that the increase was not denied. And is waiting on CenterPoint to give them more information before a rate increase is approved. Until then, this disagreement could last well into the winter months, when gas prices are expected to be at an all time high.
Because officials fear a brutal winter, the city suggested CenterPoint waive the 11% hike until next spring or summer. Fred Carl with CenterPoint says it's too early to tell if the company will agree to that. The city contends the matter is still a city issue and has just under 90 days to approve or deny a rate increase.

Christine Nelson reporting.