Friday, August 13, 2010

The SA 2011 Budget and You

The 2011 City of San Antonio proposed budget has just been revealed and according to the Express-News "The Sky is not Falling."  Because of the projected increase in CPS revenue of $24 million the city didn't have to raise property taxes, garbage or sewer fees.  The $12 million worth of proposed cuts are mostly in the form of efficiences and reduced hours of service.

But of course right away in the comments, one reader complained that we are being gouged by energy fees.

So I decided to see how we stack up against other Texas cities.  The cheapest rate in inner city Houston (77002) offered by Dynowatt, Frontier and Reliant energy companies is 8.6 cents/kilowatt hour (kWh), so if you used 1000 kWh it would cost $86.00. The average price per kWh in Houston is 13 cents. The city has 40 utility companies to choose from and most companies have more than one type of plan.  Ironically the most expensive company is called Payless Energy at 17.4 cents/kWh, which you can get without a credit check.

Inner city Dallas' (75201) cheapest rate, also offered by Reliant, Frontier and  Dynowatt is 8.1 cents/kWh.  Dallas has the same 40 company options.  The average price is 12.75 cents/kWh.

The City of Austin, like San Antonio, only has one public utility company, Austin Energy with a starting rate of 3.55 cents/kWh up to 500kWh after that in the winter the rate goes up to 6.02 cents/kWh and 7.82 cents/kWh in the summer.

City Public Service in San Antonio charges 6.68 cents/kWh up to 600 kWh, after that an extra 1.75 cents/kWh is charged.

The average US residence uses 920 kWH of electricity per month, so if we go by the cheapest rates and average rates in each city the average rate per city would be:

Houston           $79.12 cheapest  $119.6 average
Dallas              $74.52 cheapest  $117.3 average
Austin              $43.04 winter      $50.60 summer
San Antonio     $67.06 year round

Now, if this looks cheaper than you regular bill, even if you used less than 920 kWh, remember there are other charges on your bill, like gas use, garbage and brush collection, the environmental service fee, regulatory fees, fuel adjustment fees, service availability charges and special service charges (Windtricity, All Night Security Light, etc).

So, even with all the competitors in Dallas and Houston, CPS still charges less per kilowatt hour.

In order to meet the 2011 proposed Austin Budget, the city raised property taxes and other fees at a cost of about $9.31 more per month.  The City of Dallas is contemplating a myriad of fee and rate increases and drastic cuts in the Parks and Rec department.

Another reader complained about the 2% cost of living (COL) increase for non managerial city employees.  (Managers only recieve increases based on evaluations)  In Austin, city employees in unions are receiveing a 3% COL raise and the rest a 2.5% COL raise.

Many cities throughout the US are in dire budgetary distress, so much so that some cities are farming out all city services.  I think a small rise of about $5.57 per month for the average utility bill isn't too bad.

1 comment:

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