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Denton residents’ utility rates could go up nearly $20 a month if City Council approves

Denton Municipal Electric is proposing a nearly $20 per month increase in rates.
Juan Betancourt
DRC file photo
Denton Municipal Electric is proposing a nearly $20 per month increase in rates.

Denton Municipal Electric plans to increase customers’ utility bills in late March for the month of April, if the City Council approves the adjustment at its meeting Tuesday.

The cost increase would add approximately $20 per month — $10.60 for increased energy costs and $8.80 for increased transmission costs — to the average residential customer’s bill.

But the price increase doesn’t account for seasonal impacts, such as the long days of triple-digit temperatures over the summer, said DME spokesperson Stuart Birdseye.

It also doesn’t include the additional 5.5% base rate increase proposed for 2025, when a staggered increase over four years will start to help cover the tens of millions the city spent during Texas’ deadly winter storm in February 2021.

Birdseye said an updated financial forecast is the reason why they had to change the original 3% rate increase proposed in August to a 5.5% increase instead.

City officials said DME hasn’t increased energy rates for customers in seven years and transmission rates in six years.

Next year’s changes will be discussed during the annual budget process later this year with City Council members, Birdseye said.

This discussion, Birdseye said, will also include further updates to the financial forecast.

“The proposed midyear adjustment would allow for the partial recovery of energy and transmission costs that are charged to DME in [fiscal year] ’24, and would not affect the base rate,” he said.

A discussion about the proposed rate increase was supposed to take place Monday, but Birdseye said there wasn’t a quorum to hold the meeting.

DME officials said the proposed April increase is due to summer 2023 energy costs and increased energy and transmission costs that exceeded DME’s projections.

DME is also proposing to finance $31.26 million over five years to maintain financial stability, according to a news release from the city.