Texas utility regulator is looking at whether companies are passing though their tax savings to customers
The chairman of the Public Utility Commission has asked that Houston-based electric utility CenterPoint begin a comprehensive rate case, the first in eight years for the company, and expressed concerns about the utilities' rates after the federal government passed a sweeping corporate tax cut.This very well could lead to reduced electricity rates for customers in Texas. It is yet another benefit of the GOP tax cut.
The commission has long had concerns that part of CenterPoint's business has been earning above the approved rate of return. But Chairman DeAnn Walker, in a memo filed this week, said that she initially gave CenterPoint a reprieve from the intense rate case process in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. But, she added, the corporate tax cut and continued concerns about over-earning had changed her mind.
"Although I continue to have concerns about the impacts of Hurricane Harvey," Walker wrote, "I believe there are too many factors that show there is a need for a rate review at this time."
RELATED: CenterPoint wins rate hikes even as profits rise past state cap
The commission is expected to make a decision on whether to require the rate case on Feb. 15. But in the meantime, the PUC has ordered all utilities in the state to begin tracking their revenues under existing rates as well as calculate what their revenues would be if lower federal taxes had been factored into their rates..
The PUC also asked all utilities to calculate how much extra money they will have thanks to the federal income tax cut.