Public outrage over high utility bills boiled over this week, as the LP&L rate increase kicked in during one of the hottest months of the year. So why are the July bills so high?
LP&L Representative Matt Rose offered a few reasons on Thursday:
And finally, Rose said for some customers, bills look particularly high in July because they weren't high enough in June.
LP&L says 44,000 customers billed in the first half of June did not have their rates switched to the higher summer rate, so the increase hit them all at once in the hottest part of summer, instead of gently ramping up from May to June.
"Historically, the largest increase an electric customer will see all year occurs from May to June," Rose said. "For those customers who were incorrectly billed during the first part of June, their electric bills were about the same or lower than their May bills. Therefore, when those customers got their July electric bill, which had the 9.5 percent rate increase, it looked like the rate increase was much higher."
So what happens to people who were billed at this "artificially low rate?"
Rose says the utility board will meet to discuss what the next steps will be for those who were under -billed, but he says there will be no detrimental action taken against those customers because the error was LP&L's fault.
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson says if the LP&L board doesn't take action by Monday, he will.
"If by Monday there has been no action taken by the board to recommend a solution to the City Council to our billing issues, I will call for a special called meeting of the City Council to consider a repeal of the recent rate increase until October 1st."
Councilman Todd Klein made this statement on Thursday night, "I am very concerned, along with the many others I've heard from about the LP&L billing. And, I want to reassure you that I share your concerns and will be asking for a full explanation as to the recent billing. I will also be asking for a presentation of all the options that are available to best address this issue."
Members of the public will also be addressing the issue on Monday. A protest will be held in front of the LP&L building Monday morning at 7:30 a.m.
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