Questions About Your Bill
Families in Brownsville and across the country have been facing ongoing inflation and higher utility bills this summer. These higher bills have been driven by hot weather and high fuel costs.
Heat of Summer
Texas summers are known to be hot, but this year was even hotter. Air conditioners have been working harder and for longer periods to keep homes cool, which causes consumption to go up. Customers traditionally see increases in electric bills during the summer because of the heat.
High Fuel Cost
Early in 2021, natural gas prices hovered around $2-3 per MMBtu (Metric Million British Thermal Unit). The price started rising in 2021, and that trend continued through 2022 with prices around $8-9 per MMBtu as of September 2022. That’s a substantial increase that has greatly impacted all utilities.
How Price of Natural Gas Impacts Utility Bills
Most power plants in Texas run on natural gas, so shifts in natural gas prices have a ripple effect on energy prices. The biggest parts of an electric bill change month to month. They are consumption and the Fuel, Purchased Energy and Marketing charge (FPEM). Consumption is how much electricity was used. FPEM, seen on a BPUB bill as the fuel and energy charge, covers the cost of fuel used for electric generation, purchased power and associated costs. All electric utilities charge an FPEM as part of their bill. BPUP and other utilities cannot profit from the FPEM, but they can recoup those costs. High natural gas prices have caused this part of the bill to rise for BPUB customers, especially compared to past years.
BPUB lowered the base electric rate 11 percent on June 1, 2022. Another 11 percent drop is scheduled for June 1, 2023. However, the continued rise of natural gas prices outweighed that 11 percent reduction, which is why electric bills went up. Prior to the rate adjustment, BPUB kept the FPEM static for five years as part of a bill reduction program, but as base electric rates went down and natural gas prices went up, it became necessary to adjust the FPEM.
How BPUB Can Help
BPUB understands this is a challenging time for families in Brownsville and across the country as they face higher costs. We are committed to our customers and are here to help.
- Assistance – Programs are available to assist customers who need help paying utility bills. https://www.brownsville-pub.com/about/public-outreach-assistance-programs/assistance-programs/
- Conservation – Customers can reduce costs by following some of these energy-saving tips. https://www.brownsville-pub.com/online-tools/conservation-tips/
- Rebates –BPUB’s GoGreen Rebate Program gives money back for qualifying energy efficient improvements. https://www.brownsville-pub.com/gogreen/rebate-programs/
Please don’t hesitate to contact the BPUB Customer Service team at 956-983-6121 for questions and additional assistance.
There are public meetings available for those who wish to stay up to date on issues involving BPUB or who would like to make a comment. These meetings follow regular schedules and are open to the public. Check the BPUB website for the latest dates and agendas. Please note some meetings require residents to register to speak during the public comment period.
- Brownsville City Commission – Brownsville city commissioners hold regular meetings the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m.
- BPUB Board – The BPUB Board of Directors holds regular meetings the second Monday of each month at 5 p.m. at the BPUB Annex Building Boardroom.
- PUBCAP – BPUB’s citizen advisory panel generally holds regular meetings the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the BPUB Annex Building Boardroom.
Freaquently Asked Questions
Learn more about your bill.