How to win friends and influence people

With their current rate case, El Paso Electric Company (EPEC) is sticking it to its El Paso ratepayers so hard that the half dozen or so of its employees who are self-aware have had to withdraw from their social circles out of shame. From the El Paso Times:

The company wants to raise residential and small commercial customers’ electric rates 12 percent, and solar residential customers’ rates 24 percent. Some other customer classes, including some government agencies, would get substantial rate increases.

. . .

The company had a profit of $91.4 million last year — something Mayor Leeser made certain was brought out during the hearing.

The utility is seeking a 10.1 percent rate of return for shareholders’ stock investments with the increased rates. The current rate of return for company shareholders is approximately 8 percent, a utility official said.

The utility is trying to stick it to its neighbors, the families that their kids play soccer with, and their friends with whom they share beers and barbeque, so that their shareholders can get a ten percent return on their investment.

Ten percent is an outrageous return in this economy, from a monopoly guaranteed by state law. Eight percent is ridiculous. They’re your neighbors and they’re screwing you.

Particularly egregious is the way they’re jacking the rates on their solar customers.

Those solar panels also put electricity back into the system. And, under the current Byzantine rate plan, the owners of solar panels get reimbursed by EPEC at EPEC’s lowest generating cost. It’s not anywhere near what those solar customers pay for electricity on a cloudy day.

The majority of EPEC’s Board Members live out of town, but if you check their webpage, you’ll recognize some of our local robber barons. Presumably the Officers live in EPEC’s service area.

If you know any of those people listed on the webpages linked above, talk to them. Or better yet, never talk to them again. And unfriend them from Facebook.

I understand that they have a duty to their shareholders, but they should understand that they also have a duty to the community.


  1. Most excellent points, Rich! I have been railing against their lame ads claiming that solar users have to pay for use of “their” grid. I wonder if it has yet to occur to them that perhaps with the addition of many solar users, their need for power plants would not increase, thus saving them a chunk of money. Of course, we all know that we pay for their construction costs and maintenance costs, and operating costs in our monthly bills, so who is fooling whom? I suspect that few, if any of their rich share holders actually live within the confines of their precious grid.

  2. Hey Rich, Where are the solar generators located for El Paso? Does this increase include natural gas or wind energy?

    1. EPEC wants to increase the rates for people with rooftop solar panels. The utility generates some juice from solar and wind, but it’s mostly natural gas, and I think they have a couple of diesel generators as well, but the only use those for peak demand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *