Electricity Rates are going up all over Texas. Unfortunately, some people are getting almost to a panic stage regarding power costs. Since Seymour operates a Municipally Owned Utility (MOU) for our electric distribution system, City staff members hear concerns frequently about the increasing costs of electricity. We are happy to answer questions about the bills.
Some facts that are frequently lost during discussions of electricity bills are:
- Rates are going up across the country, not just Seymour and not just Baylor County. Electricity costs are tied to fossil fuel costs and all petroleum based fuels have increased in cost in recent months. The same reasons that cause automotive gas to go up to almost $4.00 a gallon are also to blame for the increase in electricity costs. The increase in the cost of electric power affects everyone and the increase in the cost of petroleum-based products affects everyone.
- The City of Seymour actually lowered their retail rate by $.01 in December 2012, saving consumers $275.00 a year on average.
- The City residential rate for June bills was 14.10 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH). This is one of the lowest that we’ve found in the State. Consumers can find information about comparative rates at www.powertochoose.org. (This website is not affiliated with the City of Seymour and was created for comparison use only). The figures listed here were not entirely current – but seemed to be within about 2-5 cents of the current rates. This website is used by typing in the zip codes for surrounding cities and seeing what the rates are compared to ours.
- The revenue that is made from the ‘mark up’ (as some people call it), is used to pay the bills of the City. The costs of paving roads, mowing lots, operating the swimming pools, maintenance of the city park, municipal golf course, and to support the police department, chamber of commerce, Baylor County Museum, Library, and conducting the Clean Up weeks twice a year and paying staff – all these things are paid for in part with money from the electric and water/sewer utilities. The revenue from the electric sales provides the money needed to meet the budget.
- Owning a MOU means that citizens in Seymour pay lower property taxes than they would pay in a city without a MOU. Seymour city residents paid .43981 tax rate on real property only for the city tax levy for Fiscal Year 2005-2006. The residents in Munday, Texas paid a tax rate of .75920, Archer City paid .54000, and Henrietta citizens paid .59540.
- The City employees pay the same utility rates as all other city customers for all city services.
- The City of Seymour has been intensely involved in the efforts to locate major wind-power generators located in this area. With this project would, we hope, be the option of purchasing less expensive power direct from the generation farm. This power would be reliable and pollution-free. Hopefully, this would also allow the City to pass along savings to the City of Seymour electric customers.
The City of Seymour was not forced by law to deregulate and therefore, we are the only electricity provider for the City of Seymour residents. However, the private (investor owned) utilities are charging comparable, if not higher, rates than the City of Seymour.
This chart shows figures from early June 2006 showing how the cost of Seymour’s residential electricity compared to other providers around the state. Some of the rates are from electricity companies owned by Cities like our MOU, other rates are from Investor owned utilities (IOU).
|City||MOU or IOU||Cents per KWH|
|First Choice Power||IOU||.1425|
|TXU Energy Services||IOU||.1537|
|Center Point Energy||IOU||.1579|
|Mutual Energy CPL||IOU||.1797|
|Mutual Energy WTU||IOU||.2288|
* Information on this chart was received by, and reprinted with permission from
Steve Moffitt, Utility Rate Division Manager, McCord Engineering Inc.,
916 Southwest Parkway East, College Station, TX 77840
The increasing costs of energy, medical care and other necessities are sufficient cause for concern. No one person knows how long this nationwide crisis will continue or how to solve it. Everyone wins when we remember we are all in the same boat. In Seymour, our situation is not as bad as it could be and not as bad as it is in some other locations. At the City, we are operating with a policy of monitoring the ‘big picture’ and attempting to keep our citizens informed. We are providing electric power to our customers at the lowest price we can within the constraints of our budget.
We welcome your questions.