Sherman recently denied an 11.8 percent rate increase for residents and a 0.5 percent street lighting rate increase proposed by Oncor Electric Delivery Company.
The local increases are part of an application Oncor filed in March to raise system-wide transmission and distribution rates by around 7.5 percent — or $317 million — over current revenues. City staff previously said the increase would raise the bill of a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month by around $6.68 each month.
“As you may recall back on March 17, Oncor filed an application for a system-wide rate increase,” City Attorney Brandon Shelby said to the Sherman City Council. “During a meeting in April, we passed a resolution suspending that rate increase to give our steering committee time to evaluate Oncor’s request. We received recommendation from the steering committee to deny the rate increase and this resolution does that.”
The Sherman City Council passed the resolution to deny the filing unanimously, though Deputy Mayor Jason Sofey and council member Pam Howeth were absent from the meeting.
The Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor recommended all the cities it serves adopt the resolution to deny and once that is done, Oncor will have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Once Oncor does that, its appeal will be consolidated with its other filing, which is currently pending with the commission.
State law says a rate request from an electric utility can’t go into effect until at least 35 days after the application is filed. The effective date for the increase was to be April 21.
While the Denison City Council has not yet considered a similar resolution to deny, it did vote to suspend the proposed rate increases in April.
“We find value in being a part of that steering committee and having them be able to lobby on our behalf,” Denison City Manager Jud Rex said in April.
Oncor is Texas’s largest regulated utility, providing electricity for more than 3 million Texas homes.
Oncor’s parent company, Energy Future Holdings, filed bankruptcy in April 2014 with nearly $50 million in debt and attempts to sell the public utility company have been ongoing since. In 2015, Hunt Consolidated moved forward with plans to buy Oncor, but this deal fell through in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported. In February, Bloomberg News said a U.S. bankruptcy judge approved a plan for Energy Future Holdings to sell Oncor to NextEra Energy, Bloomberg News reported. After two rejections by state regulators, NextEra Energy filed another appeal this week seeking to get the Texas Public Utility Commission to reconsider its offer to purchase Oncor for $18.7 billion, the Dallas Morning News reported.