By Bill Oakey – April 27, 2014
My longtime friend, Shudde Fath, who has served on the City’s Electric Utility Commission since 1977 and is approaching her centennial birthday needs our help. A victory on this issue may take a group effort. But she deserves all the credit in the world for discovering the problem.
In a nutshell, Shudde did some research last year and discovered that Austin Energy no longer charges the full amount that it costs to hook up a new home or business to the electric system. What that means is that the rest of the ratepayers, people like you and me, are having to subsidize the new hookups that come on line. Until Shudde made the discovery, there was no hookup fee at all, and there hadn’t been since sometime back in the late 1980’s. As of today, a very small fee has been added for the new hookups, but it is not nearly enough to recover the total cost.
On this Thursday’s City Council agenda (May 1st), Item 41 is a resolution directing City staff to implement full cost recovery of the new hookups, as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 City Budget that takes effect this coming October 1st. Here is a link to the resolution for Item 41.
The City Council member that we have to thank for this item is Kathie Tovo, who received the AustinAffordability.com Above And Beyond Award last week. Her co-sponsors are Laura Morrison and Mike Martinez. So, we just need one more vote. You can send an email to Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, and Council Members Chris Riley and Bill Spelman by clicking this single link. Then Tweet and Facebook this blog posting to your friends.
If you are an Austin American-Statesman subscriber, you can read an endearing article about Shudde Fath, entitled “97-Year-Old Woman Still Monitoring Austin’s Electric Rates.”