BPUB Temporarily Suspends Disconnections; Addresses Customer Concerns
BROWNSVILLE, TX – The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) is committed to providing affordable and reliable service to its customers and addressing public concerns related to the Tenaska project.
The following steps have been taken to address customer concerns:
Suspension of Disconnects
Starting October 21, 2022, BPUB suspended service disconnections for non-payment to electric, water and wastewater customers until February 28, 2023. Disconnections will continue on accounts that pose an electrical safety issue or show evidence of meter tampering. BPUB strongly encourages customers to continue making payments to avoid accumulating a higher balance. Customers will be responsible for the total amount after the suspensions are lifted. Information on assistance programs to help customers pay their utility bills is available on the BPUB website. Rebate programs are also available to customers to make their homes more energy efficient.
A 22 percent electric base rate reduction was initially scheduled to be phased over two years. The first electric base adjustment went into effect on June 1, 2022. On Monday, October 24, 2022, the Brownsville City Commission approved an early rollback of the remaining 11 percent decrease in the electric base rate resulting from the Tenaska rate increase to become effective December 1, 2022.
Bill Reduction Program
Since 2016, BPUB has been using a portion of the Tenaska electric rate revenues for its bill reduction program, which subsidized the fuel, purchased energy and marketing charges (FPEM) on BPUB bills. The FPEM, seen on a BPUB electric bill as the fuel and energy charge, covers the cost of fuel used for electric generation, purchased power and associated costs. Since June 1, 2022, BPUB began phasing out the bill reduction program. This means the FPEM will be variable from month to month, depending on market conditions. Customers will see an increase and/or decrease in their total bill based on fuel prices despite the lower base electric rate.
Improvements in Customer Service
To continue providing the best service to customers, BPUB welcomes customers to meet with a Customer Service Representative in person by making appointments at www.brownsville-pub.com or by calling 956-983-6121 during work hours. Appointments will be available Monday through Friday; walk-ins are also accepted. BPUB temporarily increased credit card limits from $500 to $1,000.
BPUB continues to work with the City of Brownsville to keep the community informed throughout this process. Customers will be informed of any updates via mail, the BPUB website, social media, YouTube, and other forms of community outreach. Customers are encouraged to attend BPUB’s Board and PUBCAP meetings, which take place every month. BPUB Board Meetings now start at 5:30 p.m., allowing customers time to arrive and make a public comment. PUBCAP meets every third Wednesday of every month from 5:30-7 p.m. Meetings are held at the Annex Building Boardroom at 1425 Robbinhood Dr., Brownsville, TX.