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
  • RuskProtestMain.tif Rusk protest highlights views concerning border issues

    Several Texans gathered Saturday in Rusk -- not only to protest the recent federally-sponsored flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S., but to demand state officials to do something about it.
    Nearly 20 concerned citizens gathered at the intersection of U.S. highways 69 and 84 Saturday afternoon, waving flags and hand-lettered signs asking for secure borders and better action on the matter.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tina_Baggett.tif Gallatin resident seeks help with expenses after diagnosis

    A Gallatin woman and longtime employee at Prosperity Bank is about to undergo the first stage of procedures for stem cell harvesting.
    Tina Baggett, 51, became unable to work in February due to complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee County arrests: July 8-14

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

    July 19, 2014

  • Detective recovers nearly $7K in case

    When a Jacksonville woman became a victim of a scam, Jacksonville Police Detective Greg Compton stopped at nothing to solve the case.
    In early January, Compton said a neighbor of a 94-year-old woman reported that someone had “taken advantage of her.”

    July 17, 2014

  • Bullard ISD names interim leader

    During a meeting Monday night, the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees appointed Joe Dan Lee as Interim Superintendent.

    July 17, 2014