Thursday, August 24, 2006

Show Me My Money, Ok, Here's A Penny

Wow,I can hardly wait. Ha, ha. My electric bill will be reduced (cough). The Public Utilities Commission in Austin has settled a rate case with CenterPoint Energy. Houston's CenterPoint's annual revenues will be reduced by nearly $68 million. The PUC review said that CenterPoint might have overearned $105 million in revenues in 2004. Wow, that took a lot of work to figure that out! I could have told them that.

The PUC said that most people would see a reduction in electricity costs. Sure we will. There are a number of factors that go into this. CenterPoint operates the power lines, poles, and electric meters and serves nearly 2 million customers in Houston. According to the PUC retail electricity providers are the companies that sign up customers and send out bills. Good old Reliant Energy does that. Currently they are having a big ad push to get people to sign up for their "price to beat". If they sign up they automatically get a $25 credit. Gee, that's big of them. Of course that also locks the customer into staying with Reliant for a specified time. If the customer wants to change providers before the contract is up, they pay a heavy price of at least $100. Of course Reliant is the same company that charges a new deposit every time a customer changes residences. That is something I don't agree with, but they still try to stick it to the customer.

In a magnamous gesture, Reliant Energy has said it will give customers a credit of about $25 once a year for the next four years. That works out to about $2.00 a month. Some reduction. Somehow I don't think I will see any real reduction in my bill. Let's face it. Reliant won't be losing any money in this deal. But, I don't think I will see any real savings either.