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Texas utility asks for $83 million electricity rate hike

Texas' Southwestern Petroleum Corporation (SWEPCO) has asked to increase its rates by about $83 million to make up for higher costs linked to two new power plants and new vegetation management, the Kilgore News Herald reports.

According to the media outlet, if the hike is approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, it will go into effect in the new year, and the typical residential electricity bill – in which about 1,000 kilowatt-hours is used per month – would rise by about 16 percent, or $12.

A number of the utility's executives say they have good reason for the rate hike.

"It’s really about the new generation projects that went online," said Brian Bond, AEP SWEPCO vice president of external affairs. "Basically, we’ve been putting the Stall and Turk on credit cards. Now it’s time to pay the credit card. We’re just at that point where we’ve got to get the recovery on the plant now."

Fortunately for Texas, the deregulated energy market has allowed customers to compare electricity rates to determine what package best fits them.