September 22, 2008

Rate Hikes Needed for Ike’s Damage

Officials say Hurricane Ike has left utilities in Houston with a huge repair bill that will most likely result in higher electricity rates for area residents.

Under deregulation, Texas ratepayers are responsible for the expense of maintaining and expanding the power grid in the state, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman Leticia Lowe says the company will likely ask the Public Utility Commission of Texas to unfreeze its rates and pass along Ike's repair costs to its 2.6 million customers.

After Hurricane Rita, Entergy Texas, which serves 54,199 customers in the Houston area, faced a repair bill of millions of dollars.

Entergy Texas Chief Executive Officer Joe Domino says the firm received a $381 million rate increase to pay for repairing Rita's damage.

Neither CenterPoint nor Entergy Texas has put a dollar amount on Ike-related damage, the newspaper says.