City Council Settles on "Win Win" Situation Concerning Atmos Rate Hike - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/15/05

City Council Settles on "Win Win" Situation Concerning Atmos Rate Hike

"If they lose we win, if they win we win," stated Mayor Marc McDougal in response to the city's deal with Atmos. He calls it a "win-win" situation, but it comes with a hike to your energy bill. After weeks of what they call careful consideration, Lubbock city council members agreed to let Atmos charge you an extra $1.21 to help pay for infrastructure costs. However, it comes with a major catch.

NewsChannel 11 reported that the City Council was considering entering into a lawsuit to fight Atmos' increase. Thursday the attorney representing those cities gave a 20 minute presentation on why Lubbock should join, but one word would sway them the other way and that word is "clause."

Each city council member fired numerous questions at representatives from Atmos during this heated discussion concerning Atmos' rate hike request.

Attorney Goeff Gay said, "my request of you would be to add Lubbock's voice to those cities."

Gay tried to convince the city to join a lawsuit made up of about 45 other cities to fight the increase, but after hearing from Atmos, council declined because of an agreement.

Mayor Marc McDougal said the agreement states, "if they lose and other cities get a better deal than Lubbock, then we get that deal without the benefit of having to pay to fight it. So that's a win-win for Lubbock rate payers."

Atmos Public Affairs Director Dan Alderson also calls it "win-win."

"It just proves that West Texans, when you sit down face to face and know the facts and understand the process that we can come together and do what's best for citizens of Lubbock," said Alderson.

Mayor McDougal said if they had entered into the lawsuit and lost, Lubbock Atmos customers would end up paying for the lawsuit, which led council to ask:

"Is it worth the risk," asked McDougal, "in this case it might be."

However, with their agreement if other cities get a better rate as a result of the lawsuit Lubbock gets it as well.

McDougal said, "but if we can get the clause put in there that we asked for, we have the best of both worlds."

Atmos representatives said the rate is reviewable and it could be reduced in the coming years, but for now you can expect your bill to go up by $1.21 by the end of January.

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