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Solar customers rally against rate hikes

Solar energy customers rallied against proposed rate hikes at city council Tuesday.

El Paso Electric said it spent nearly half a billion dollars on power updates to meet the growing energy needs in the Borderland as the population increases.

Protesters showed up in yellow shirts, several spoke in front of city council representatives about the impact of the impact of utility price increases.

Some city representatives agreed that costs were driven up too high.

Customers with rooftop solar panels could see an increase of $14.09 on monthly bills, which would be an added $169.08 a year.

In summer, residential customers could see a $9.27 increase, but during winter months $7.24 would be tacked on electric bills.

Current residential bills are around $82.60.

The rate case is expected to be finalized by November.

If approved, the rate increase will go into effect towards the end of the year or beginning of 2018.

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