The heat wave and drought have increased electricity use and contributed to high utility bills and PCRA charges. Energy market volatility is also cited as a significant contributor to the rising PCRA charges, according to the NBU.
“Effective August 1 through September 30, 2022, NBU customers will see a reduction of $0.021 per kWh in the PCRA portion of their bill; overall that represents an 11.95% reduction to the electric portion of the bill,” the NBU said in a press release. “This reduction will delay the collection of Winter Storm Uri’s recovery, which currently represents 28% of the PCRA. The remaining portion, 72%, of the PCRA is due to energy market volatility.”
The PCRA charge will still appear on customer bills as the Winter Storm Uri recovery costs are collected. The temporary adjustment is intended to allow costs to be spread out over the fall and winter months when electric usage decreases, according to NBU.
The NBU is also entering the third year of its three-year rate plan at the beginning of August, which was approved by the New Braunfels City Council in October 2020. The NBU said the average customer will see a 5.99%, or $11.59, combined rate increase due to the three-year rate plan. The utility company said the average customer has an electric output of 1,400 kWh, water usage of 6,500 gallons and wastewater use of 3,300 gallons services per month.
Effective for most customers in September, the combined electric delivered power and electric availability charge will increase by 10%. The average electric bill includes purchased power, PCRA, delivered power, and electric availability charge costs, according to the NBU.
Water rates will increase by 8% overall, and the water supply fee will increase by $0.30 to $2.79 per 1,000 gallons. Residential customers whose monthly water usage remains at 7,500 gallons or less will not be charged a water supply fee, according to the NBU.
Additionally, wastewater rates will increase by 13%. According to the NBU, water and wastewater charges includes water usage, supply and availability charges.
“As NBU enters year three of its three-year rate plan, these rate increases remain essential to meet the capital improvement requirements to make significant upgrades to New Braunfels’ aging electric, water, and wastewater infrastructure, add capacity to meet growth and regulatory requirements and secure new water sources to ensure resiliency and sustainability,” the NBU said in a press release.
The NBU fiscal year 2023 five-year operating plan includes more than 153 capital improvement projects costing more than $871 million either in progress or in the planning phase.
A breakdown of the PCRA charges and details of the rate increase effective Aug. 1 can be found at nbutexas.com/rate-change. Customers can find tools to manage the cost of their bills by visiting www.nbutexas.com/conservation or calling 830-629-8400.
Additionally, customers can call Conservation and Customer Solutions at 830-629-8925 to schedule a personal consultation or assessment. For NBU customers needing financial assistance, the New Braunfels Food Bank manages the NBU Bill Payment Assistance Program, and more information on the program is available at nbutexas.com.