City to work with alliance, monitor electric utility rates

City to work with alliance, monitor electric utility rates

 Charlotte Stewart of Longview understands what it means to live in a regulated utility market, like nearly 400 thousand other SWEPCO customers.

"I know that the rates are supposedly lower," she says

Stewart is right, according to the Longview Economic Development Corporation. It says Longview homeowners pay 6.1 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity.

With a husband, two grandkids and four dogs, she might be too busy to compare rates, but according to the utility website powertoswitch.com, Tyler customers pay at least 40 percent more per kilowatt hour.  In Dallas, you might pay double the rate Stewart pays. But she's not pleased that her bill reaches about 250 dollars every month.

"I can't account for $250 worth because I dry my stuff outdoors, I don't have lights on unless I'm in the room. I use natural light whenever possible, sometimes even when I should not," she says.

Swepco believes it's not getting a fair deal either.

According to the company, between January 2012 and this past February, it ended $4.8 million dollars in the red.

It's taking its case to the Public Utility Commission.

Even though bills in that 26-month period are settled, city spokesman Shawn Hara says Longview wants to join other cities served by SWEPCO and make sure customers are not jolted with skyrocketing prices in the future.

Stewart wants her city to have a seat at that table in Austin.


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