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Our research and perspective seek to inform energy policy discussions in Austin, Texas and the U.S. with content ranging from introductory cartoons to expert panel dialogue.  We hope it helps you participate in energy issues important to us all.  — Your PowerSmack Team

Electric Rate Hearing II

by Mike Sloan. Feb 9, 2012.

A second public hearing on Austin Energy’s Rate Proposal is Thursday, Feb 9, at 6pm at City Hall.

Austin public hearings can be monitored by live video link.

PowerSmack’s blog shares the positions of some of the more outspoken voices in the community regarding AE’s proposed rate increase.  These include:

Coalition for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy (CCARE)

Homeowners United for Rate Fairness (HURF)

Data Foundry, a large data center

Paul Robbins, environmental advocate

Bill Oakey, consumer advocate

Robin Rather – commenting on today’s proposal by City Council members Laura Morrison & Kathie Tovo for the City to take a more studied evaluation of the factors driving the rate increase during the next year prior to final rate approval, and assessing an interim rate increase of 3.5% effective June 2012.

Austin Ponders Electric Rate Increase

by Robin Rather & Mike Sloan. Jan 12, 2012.

Powersmack recognizes the intense controversy around the proposed Austin Energy rate increase and has asked a diverse set of local contributors to comment on it. We have also linked to other bloggers and media outlet coverage for comprehensive perspective.

Here are a few highlights of the opinions expressed.. click on the contributors name to read the full post.

“AE has failed to justify a rate increase..” EUC member Barbara Day, voting against it.

“We can have an economically healthy utility or reach our energy conservation goals, but not both.” EUC Chair Phillip Schmandt, voting for it.

“This proposal is upside down and backwards.” Bill Oakey, consumer advocate and former EUC member, opposed.

” Almost no one, except maybe the federal government, sets the budget first and then tries to scare up the revenues. That’s one area where I agree with Bill Oakey, its “upside down and backwards.” John Sutton, Building Owners Management Association, supportive of the methodology.

“For the first time in decades ( this proposal) puts a lopsided rate burden on poor and middle class residential customers, small businesses, churches and schools while letting its largest industrial customers skate.” Robin Rather, Collective Strength, opposed.

What local media outlets say:

STATESMAN: Austin Energy unveils final rate-increase proposal

“Austin Energy now needs $126 million more in annual revenue to balance its books and replenish dwindling reserves…”

CHRONICLE: Beside the Point: ‘Mission of Affordability’

“…if ever there was a time for the council to listen to its constituents – from grassroots activists to clergy to poor people to small-business owners – it’s right now.”

AUSTIN ECONETWORK: Electric Rate Public Hearing – A Primer, by Paul Robbins. “I urge you to attend and speak out against this outrageous proposal, as well as support increased funding for Austin’s clean energy programs that promote energy efficiency and conservation.

The public hearing on Austin Energy’s Rate Proposal was Thursday, Jan. 12, at 6pm at City Hall.

Austin public hearings can be monitored by live video link.

Shaping the Future of Austin Energy:

Austin Energy – A Wake Up Call

Larry Weis, the new General Manager for Austin Energy, starts work on September 27. What challenges await him? Read More.

Transparency Reform

How many secrets should Austin Energy keep from its owners, the citizens of Austin?  A reform process is underway and expected to conclude in 2010. Read More.

Business Model Reform

Austin urgently needs to reform its out-dated business model to work with — rather than against — the City’s climate protection, efficiency and solar goals.  Read More.