BOWIE (KFDX/KJTL) — Bowie officials paid Bryan Texas Utilities $1.2 Million for its electric bill.
This comes about two months after the historic winter storm and the Energy Reliability Council of Texas surcharging thousands of providers after initiating rolling blackouts across the state due to low supply.
After what many refer to as the snowpocalypse any are still dealing with the aftermath financially.
In a unanimous vote, Bowie city councilors voted to pay a hefty electric bill from Bryan Texas Utilities.
“We had been led to believe that there may not be as drastic an increase as it turned out to be,” Bowie’s Mayor Gaylynn Burris said.
$1.2 million to be exact.
“About four weeks after the storm is when we got the first indication that ERCOT will be passing the bill on to our provider and our provider will have to pass it on to us,” Burris said.
“Many cities have not been able to pay these without passing it on to their consumers, many of the midstream providers have struggled with paying these bills, our city, fortunately, has a fund that we can go to pay the bill to keep from having to pass it on to our customers,” Burris said.
Burris is referring to the city’s infrastructure fund.
But since there was a disaster declaration for Montague County during the storm, City Manager Bert Cunningham said they are able to apply for a FEMA grant for losses suffered during the Texas freeze.
“There was a whole lot of water distribution lines and things within the city [and] in order to help people we opened up a warming center that we operated 24 hours a day from Monday through Friday that week, we fed the people made sure they had cots to sleep on, and things like that,” Cunningham said.
“Hopefully FEMA will pick up the tab on our electric cost also, it’s not guaranteed but we’ll see, if that pays for all those costs then we’re set and pretty, we’ll just put the money back into the infrastructure account.”
Burris said while there is no way to guarantee residents will in no way be impacted by future charges, officials have no desire to pass on the charges and Cunningham agreed.
“Obviously all money that is earned by the City of Bowie is from the residents of the City of Bowie,” Burris said. “There is no reason to, we are funded and we are a stable city,” Burris said.
Both Burris and Cunningham said this won’t affect the city in the long run, and if they don’t get the money from FEMA they can replenish the infrastructure fund over time.
Burris said enrolling in a locked long-term rate would not have protected the city or any other provider because it was the fuel charge that was increased not the electric charge.
Fuel charges are determined by ERCOT and fluctuates each month.