Houston-based CenterPoint Energy is seeking a rate increase for electricity distribution to recoup nearly $480 million it spent on its distribution system in 2016, the company announced on Thursday.

The rate increase — which would add 80 cents for every 1,000 kilowatt hours used a month — must be approved by the Public Utility Commission and city governments and could impact all of CenterPoint’s customers. If approved, the new rate would go into effect by Sept. 1. Collectively, the rate increase will bring $44.6 million to CenterPoint.

The Gulf Coast Coalition of Cities, a group that advocates for consumer rights, also filed a request for the PUC to intervene in the case.

The proposed rate increase would mean that Houstonians could see both their gas and electricity distribution bills rise this year.

Last year, CenterPoint announced that it would seek a rate increase for gas distribution in the Houston area. Under that proposal, the bill of an average customer using 3,400 cubic feet of gas a month would rise by $2.59 a month by mid-2017. The average increases, however, would vary depending on where customers live, ranging from about $1.11 a month in coastal cities and other towns east of Houston, to $6.04 in Conroe. The increase would be the second in two years for more than 1 million customers.

CenterPoint is seeking the gas rate increase as part of a comprehensive ratemaking process it must go through every five years to justify its charges. Once the process is complete, the utility will be able to seek additional increases for gas distribution costs over the next five years without going through the exhaustive process.

 

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