Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

October 31, 2012

City denies gas rate increase

JACKSONVILLE —

The Jacksonville City Council on Monday unanimously denied a proposed gas rate increase from CenterPoint Energy.

The decision followed a 90-day period during which the issue was examined at length.

It had been lingering since July 2, after CenterPoint Energy Texas Gas filed a statement of intent for the increase within its East Texas-Beaumont district.

In a strongly-worded resolution denying the hike, the council concluded it is "unreasonable" and that the company has not made "the appropriate adjustments to its proposed rate."

Additionally, the council concluded reasonable efforts to resolve the issue by way of settlement have been rebuffed by CenterPoint officials, who have refused to undertake settlement talks until after the cities submit their evidence in a case before the Texas Railroad Commission.

In that case, the Austin law firm Herrera & Boyle, PLLC, is attempting to negotiate an appropriate price increase on behalf of the Alliance of CenterPoint Municipalities – a city and council coalition of which Jacksonville is a part.

Once the Railroad Commission determines a rate between the coalition and the energy company, it will go into effect for all coalition members. The commission could approve or deny a proposed increase or settle on a lesser amount.

According to the resolution, the proposed increase would have brought Jacksonville residents' bills from $12.25 up to $20.25 per month, from $16.25 to $23.75 for small commercial customers and from $35.25 to $63.75 per month for large commercial customers. The proposed increase would impact every residential and commercial gas customer in the district, including 3,165 Jacksonville residents, 504 small commercial customers and 11 large volume customers, according to the company's public notice.

"I personally feel some of the increases were exorbitant," Mayor Kenneth Melvin elaborated after the meeting. "It was 60 to 75 percent of the base rate. It was just too much. I realize they have to have capital on hand to make improvements but they shouldn't try to get it all at one time."

Alicia Dixon, a spokeswoman for CenterPoint Energy out of Houston, said the decision was the council's to make, but the matter is still not concluded.

"Cities are certainly part of the gas rate-making process in Texas, and this decision is what Jacksonville has elected to do at this point," she said. "But the decision will be made by the Railroad Commission."

Ultimately, CenterPoint is making the process much harder than it has to be, contends Alfred R. Herrera, of Austin firm Herrera & Boyle. He expressed the sentiment in an email to coalition officials earlier this month.

"It's a case that truly should be resolved via settlement, and we have made every effort to minimize rate case expenses," Herrera wrote.

City Manager Mo Raissi said CenterPoint officials could have been more reasonable about negotiating with the coalition.

"Our attorneys really tried, but CenterPoint decided to let it go to the judge," Raissi said. "We have been discussing this issue back and forth trying to determine our next step since we are on in one group – all against it.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos