Oncor requests nearly $100 million in rate hikes

Oncor is requesting a large rate increase -- bigger than last year and more than triple what it asked for in 2019.

The company charges North Texas customers to deliver electricity provided by other companies. It says the rate increase is strictly for expenses the company invested into its infrastructure in 2020 and is not related to February’s historic snowstorm.

Oncor is requesting a total $97.8 million rate hike from customers in cities across the state. It's a sore subject for many just two months after winter weather left millions without electricity.

It's a request the city of Dallas will deny.

"Even for a utility of Oncor's size, that is a large increase. That is a lot of money," said Thomas Brocato, attorney representing 162 Texas cities served by Oncor. "Regardless of third party provider, all customers are impacted."

Cities don't have the final say, though. Even with Dallas’ denial, the request ultimately goes to the Public Utility Commission. That’s where Brocato negotiates a resolution.

"Cities are looking after residential and commercial rate payers. It is the cities who protect rate payers to greatest degree," said Don Knight, Dallas city attorney.

This year's request would cost the typical rate payer $16.20 over the course of a year. That is on top of last year's increase of $12.60 and 2019's increase of about $5.

Oncor says the increases are justified due to its investment in infrastructure and rapid growth in the area.

Brocato says some increases are justified and his firm will be closely analyzing this request to determine if the large amount is reasonable.

"We know taxpayers pay electric bills and we are concerned about rates residents and businesses pay. We don't want them going to other states because they can get better deals on electric bills, and we want to keep the lights on," he said.

If the PUC approves the rate hike, it will hit bills September 1.