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Local Businesses Getting Hit By Austin Energy Hike
For the first time, Austin area businesses are starting to see and feel the impact of Austin Energy's rate hike passed by the city council over the summer.
AE tacked on a seven percent rate hike for homeowners, but for some business owners, it's much larger -- 18 percent or more.
This is the first increase in almost two decades, and for some people it's coming as quite a shock. One small business owner says his bill has doubled.
But there are things you can do if you are seeing a drastic rise in your bill.
"As soon as I saw it, it was clear to me it would change the way we do business," says Sol Frost, owner of Austin Bikes.
He opened his electric bill this month to find it had gone from $250, to nearly $500. "I assumed it was a glitch in the bill, just because it was literally twice as high as it was before," says Frost.
Not a glitch, but the new reality thanks to the rate increase passed by city council this summer
Small businesses, churches and non-profits will likely feel the rate increase most of all, because of a new demand fee. That basically ensures AE has the maximum of energy they use available at all times.
AE does have programs and rebates available to help business make energy efficient upgrades. They'll also come out for free and assess your usage. "One of the easiest things they can do is change out inefficient lights," says Carlos Cordova, an AE spokesperson.
For more than 85 percent of residential customers AE says your bill will only go up, on average, by about three dollars, in the non-summer months.
By Karen Kiley