Electric customers to select Lubbock providers in August, board approves LP&L distribution rates

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Electric Utility Board on Monday unanimously approved what Lubbock Power & Light will charge customers for delivering power and maintaining infrastructure starting in October when those customers have chosen their new electric provider. Customers are expected to make their choice in August.

The approval and recommendation to the Lubbock City Council was for the next fiscal year’s distribution rates and discretionary fees. It’s one of the next steps toward the retail electric market in Lubbock, once all LP&L customers are on the ERCOT grid.

“When we make that actual transition to the market, at that point in time, we’re releasing our customers so that they can go decide who they want to buy their power from,” LP&L Spokesperson Matt Rose said. “Once they make that decision, Lubbock Power & Light’s job will be to responsibly and safely deliver the power that they’ve chosen to the back of their homes. What we’re doing right now is establishing our rate model that makes sure it covers our costs for not just maintaining the infrastructure right now that you enjoy but also making investments so that we can continue to serve a growing Lubbock.”

The LP&L Distribution System Rates will involve a delivery rate, including a fixed monthly rate of $30 and rate based on power usage.

“That’s the cost recovery of about $146.8 million to cover the costs for our poles and our wires to deliver the energy to our citizens,” CFO Harvey Hall told the board.

LP&L will also collect a transition charge that will also be based on usage. Hall said LP&L is facing a $77 million obligation for the transition.

“That’s recovering our costs for our Purchase Power Agreement that we currently have as well as the debt service associated with the settlement of the [Southwestern Public Service] requirement,” Hall said.

Rose told KCBD those rates and charges will decrease as LP&L makes those payments.

“Year after year, our costs are going to lessen, because we will pay these things off,” Rose said. “We’ll be in this new realm and be a more efficient utility that will be delivering the power to your home from the providers that you choose.”

The 30 percent of LP&L who were not put on the ERCOT grid in 2021 will make the switch at the end of May.

“We’ll be sending out information to all customers, but specifically those impacted on what they can expect, when they can expect a short temporary outage to take place,” Rose said. “We anticipate that it will move as smoothly as it did in 2021. Once we get 100 percent of our customers hooked on to the ERCOT market, then competition becomes a reality. We can really start that countdown of getting folks out there to pick their new providers.”

Rose said that opportunity to study providers will begin in the summer. The window for customers to shop and check-out will begin August 2, lasting a month.

“As this is kind of all ramping up, we’re expecting to look very much like Midland and Odessa or Wichita Falls, Abilene where you have about 30 providers offering anywhere from 120 to 150 plans,” Rose said. “We hope that’s the case so that our customers have a wide array of options when it comes time to pick their new provider.”

You can find retail electric resources at LPandL.com. Plans will be available on the State of Texas’ official website PowerToChoose.org. Lubbock zip codes will soon be inputted into the site along with the available plans. Until then, Rose suggests using Midland or Odessa zip codes to see similar listings.