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Texas Gas Wants To Increase Cost Of Gas Service In El Paso

Texas Gas Service is proposing a rate increase and pretty soon it could cost you more money to heat up your home.

Officials with the gas company said they want to implement a $5.1 million increase in their base rate. They say they need the money to develop a program that would provide rebates to low-income, elderly and disabled residents who replace inefficient gas appliances.

A consultant for the city said that instead of the increase, Texas Gas Service should decrease it’s base rate by about $2.1 million. The Public Utilities Regulation Board (PURB) agreed, except it recommended that the gas company decrease it’s base rate by $1.7 million.

Earlier this month, city consultant and representatives of Texas Gas Service testified before the PURB, which is made up of state residents. The recommendations from all three groups went before city council Tuesday.

“This has been a very difficult negotiation so far,” said City Representative Be O’Rourke. “It’s really hard to negotiate a compromise when you’re that far apart.”

The consultants with the city and Texas Gas Service have to reach a compromise on the new rate by April 13, 2010. If a compromise is not reached, then the matter will go to the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that monitors public utility issues.

City officials said the city would then be responsible for legal and attorney fees for Texas Gas Service, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

“The customer base has to pay for all of the costs associated with that extra step in the process, so we have a tough decision to make,” said O’Rourke.

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