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 member hear concerns frequently about
the increasing costs of electricity. We are happy to answer questions
about the bills. It is important to remember, however, that those who
would fuel panic rumors for the sake of spreading fear are acting in
a counterproductive way.
Some facts that are frequently lost during discussions of electricity
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 $3.00 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 residential rate for July is approximately 12.4 cents per kilowatt
hour (KWH); for the June bills it 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 City makes no ‘profit’ on the electricity sold to the
residents. 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 for the children,
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.
A recent ‘phone poll’ conducted by the Economic Development
Director of Seymour, Mr. John Studer,
found that we are paying less per kilowatt hour (KWH) than most other
cities in West Texas.
Here is a chart to illustrate this: