The Texas PUC is pushing the state’s utilities to pass through some of the benefits of the recently passed corporate tax cuts in the form of lower electricity rates.
Retail electricity is deregulated in Texas. However, the transmission and distribution utilities that deliver electricity around the state are still subject to the state’s oversight.
Oncor, the state’s largest distribution utility which covers Dallas, Fort Worth and much of North Texas, has already agreed to pass all of the millions of dollars of expected tax savings along to consumers. Oncor agreed to pass the savings along to customers as part of a rate review which is a formal process in which the PUC reviews the appropriateness of rates being charged by the utility. No exact details have been determined with respect to how the savings will be passed along. The rate review was actually completed before the tax reform bill was passed but there was a commitment in principle to passing along the savings. It’s not yet know exactly how much Oncor will save from the lower corporate tax rates but with a $245 million tax bill in 2017 future saving are likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Several of the state’s other electrical utilities have also agreed to pass along the savings to consumers. These include Southwestern Electric Power Co., and El Paso Electric. Centerpoint, which is responsible for delivery to the Houston area, has yet to specifically commit to lowering electricity rates in response to the tax cuts.
TDU fees in Texas appear as a pass thru item on consumer’s electric bills. They are the same for any consumer within the delivery area regardless of the Retail Electricity Provider serving the address. Lowering these pass thru fees will lower the effective electricity rate for millions of Texas rate payers.