Friday, December 18, 2015

Is EPEC's Strategy To Be Bought Out?

El Paso Electric Company looks toward the Public Utility Commission of Texas to save their rate hike proposal in El Paso which includes putting rooftop solar customers into a special rate class while raising their rates by nearly 25%.  On December 8th, the El Paso City Council voted unanimously against the proposed rate increases and the “attack” on solar homeowners.

The El Paso Sierra Group has supported Eco El Paso financially in its effort to intervene against El Paso Electric both at City Council and now, most probably, in front of the PUCT.

Jefferies, a stock analysis group, predicted that EPEC’s game plan all along has been to take the matter before the Utility Commission. Jefferies reported: “[T]he company will take the long road to Austin for a litigated decision.” 
However, EPEC’s longer-range game plan may be more contemptible. In an interview with outgoing EPEC CEO, Tom Shockley, the El Paso Times revealed that he had been an officer of a company in the 1990’s which tried to take over El Paso Electric. Although that attempt failed, the EP Times reports that “Shockley said El Paso Electric may be courted by larger utility companies in the future.”

The implications of his statement are shocking. It seems that El Paso (and New Mexico) ratepayers are footing the bill for large infrastructure projects and exorbitant rates attractive to shareholders in order to make EPEC a more viable and lucrative takeover target.

The PUCT hearing is set for early next year.

Visit to help the fight against EPEC.

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