San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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June 6th, 2008
Natural Gas Costs to Increase Electric Bills

The Lower Colorado River Authority has notified the City of San Marcos to expect higher electric bills for local customers because of higher costs of natural gas used to generate power.

San Marcos residential customers can expect a $10 to $15 increase in their July electric bills due to the fuel costs that are passed through from LCRA to customers. Another increase in the fall is expected to raise electric bills by an additional $8 to $10. The increases are based on average residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.

“It is unfortunate that these big fuel cost increases are occurring during the hot summer months when electricity consumption for many families is at its highest during the year,” said Bob Higgs, Electric Utility Director. “We encourage our customers to conserve power in as many ways as possible to save on their electric bills.”

Ways to conserve electricity include:

  • Turn off all lights, appliances, and electronic equipment when they are not in use.
  • When you are at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans to cool the air.
  • When you are away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
  • Be conservative when using appliances, such as running the dishwasher only with full loads.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary. Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.

Natural gas prices have risen by 35% since last fall, according to the LCRA. The LCRA staff has recommended a $0.01 fuel charge increase in July and a half-cent increase in October.

LCRA supplies electricity to San Marcos and many other electric cooperatives and cities in Central Texas.

By MELISSA MILLECAM
Communications Director – City of San Marcos

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0 thoughts on “Natural Gas Costs to Increase Electric Bills

  1. Well here we go again. Poor, helpless little San Marcos at the mercy of the LCRA with no dog in the fight.
    For nearly three years now councilman Chris Jones has attempted to bring back our electric utility board only to be shot down by a short sighted city government whose interest are in controlling the 13 million electric emergency fund left by the previous board.
    Why aren’t we investing in solar and wind?
    How about the option of having city controlled thermostats to save consumers money during peak hours.
    Let’s wake up San Marcos, the rest of the nation is passing us by!

  2. Hey Keith,

    Great idea! You want the same people who gave us corn ethanol to control our thermostats? How ’bout government issue chastity belts to control population and aids?

    Mark Van Kleef

  3. Austin Energy has a great program where electricity customers can sign up for their thermostat program. When demand surges (for example, on a hot summer afternoon), if things really get tight then Austin Energy can (unattended) electronically communicate with the participating thermostats to make the setting it a bit warmer so less electricity is used. This is better than having to fire up a natural gas peak power plant. The electricity customer has control over whether they want to override the temp change process each time. We will need these kinds of “demand shaping” processes, and other creative approaches, to get through the coming availability and pricing crunch.

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