The GEUS Board will hold a public hearing at 6PM on August 14, 2014 at 6000 Joe Ramsey Blvd. to outline a proposed change to the electric rates.
The proposed new rates would increase the average residential customer's bill, one who uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, by about $17.50 per month. Those who use less electricity will see a smaller increase. Even with this increase, GEUS will still be competitive with electric bills in other Hunt County cities and the Metroplex.
If approved, this would be the first across-the-board change to the electric rate structure at GEUS since 2010. Other than occasional modification to the fuel adjustment pass through charge, which reflects changes in natural gas driven market prices, only a few revenue neutral rate adjustments have been made through the years to balance the cost share between residential, commercial and industrial.
This proposal came after an extensive cost-of-service study was completed by NewGen Strategies. Their study concluded that the system's overall rates needed to be increased primarily to pay for GEUS' share of the debt service for the Gibbons Creek Coal Plant during the final four years of the current Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) contract. Greenville, along with Garland, Bryan and Denton, entered into very long-term contracts to cover the plant's construction cost in 1975.
Greenville's share of that debt was restructured on several occasions during the last four decades, ballooning some of the debt into the final six years of 2013 thru 2018. GEUS has managed to pay for the last two years of increased TMPA debt through cash reserves without the need to raise electric rates, but milder weather and moderate community load growth has depleted that reserve. The TMPA debt will be paid off in 2018, but the plant has a projected useful life of 15 to 20 years after that.
'The TMPA plant has been an integral part of GEUS' power supply mix for many years keeping our rates very competitive', said GEUS General Manager Gary Singleton. 'Gibbons Creek Coal energy is significantly cheaper than natural gas generation and accounts for approximately 40% of Greenville's energy needs. Having it completely paid off in four years could have the potential to place GEUS' rates significantly below the market', Singleton added.