Austin residents should brace for higher bills

Published 7:01 am Monday, January 27, 2014

Austin Utilities may have no problem providing gas to customers, but utilities officials say residents will likely see higher than normal energy bills at the end of the month.

“If we look at the bills we’re seeing currently compared to last month, we’re seeing bills about 30 to 35 percent higher on average,” Austin Utilities General Manager Mark Nibaur said. “We also looked at this same billing period compared to last year and they’re running about 20-25 percent higher on average.”

Utility workers use heating degree days, a factor determining how much heat is needed because of cold temperatures, to figure out energy costs. January’s bitter cold streak has meant heating degree days 20 to 30 percent higher on average than normal.

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Nibaur said Austin Utilities hasn’t had an issue buying gas from distributors, as the company makes sure to buy extra gas to keep an ongoing supply, but gas prices have risen slightly due to demand.

Residents under Austin Utilities’ budget billing program won’t see any increases in next month’s bill, but residents may have to adjust payments once their annual billing contract comes under review.