On May 2, The city of Brownsville Commission approved a Tenaska Equity Fund (TEF) distribution plan.
The TEF includes $29 million collected from April 2013 to September 2016 for anticipated costs during the Tenaska Project's construction phase, plus interest earned through March 2023, bringing the total to $31.35 million.
BPUB will refund its electric customers within the April 2013 through September 2016 TEF timeframe based on electric consumption. This will ensure that customers get back what they paid into the TEF. BPUB will issue an additional credit to the customer foregoing the city of Brownsville's and BPUB's allocated refunds, which total an additional $1.6 million.
- Customers between April 2013 and September 2016 will see a consumption-based credit on the electric portion of their bill labeled as "Tenaska Equity Fund Refund." Former customers will receive their refunds via check in accordance with BPUB policies.
- Active account holders, as of May 1, 2023, will receive an additional fixed refund labeled "City & BPUB TEF Allocation," totaling $48.91.
For account-related questions specific to the refund, customers should call BPUB's Customer Service Department at (956)-983-6121. Below are frequently asked questions about the distribution of the TEF. For additional inquiries regarding the distribution of the TEF, email [email protected].
From 2013 to 2016, BPUB collected $29 million to cover debt service during the construction period of the proposed power plant. These funds remained unspent in the Tenaska Equity Fund. On April 10, the BPUB Board of Directors voted to include BPUB’s net interest earned on the $29 million, an additional $2,082,611. The City of Brownsville received $208,261 from that interest as part of BPUB’s payment transfers to the city. This leaves a net amount of $1,874,350 added to the TEF, bringing the total to $30,874,350.
Additional interest from October 2022 through March 2023 totaled an estimated $534,134. With 10 percent, or $53,413, transferred to the City of Brownsville, this leaves a net amount of $480,721. At the May 1 BPUB Special Board Meeting, the board voted to include those funds into the total TEF, bringing the new total to $31,355,071 million.
Beginning in 2013, $29 million was collected to pay for anticipated costs during the construction period of the power plant; these funds are unspent and still held by BPUB (Tenaska Equity Fund, or TEF).
Starting in 2017, funds brought in through the power plant portion of the rate increases, along with additional funds from BPUB, were returned to customers as a reduction of the Fuel and Energy Charge on their bills through BPUB’s bill reduction program. When the rates were lowered to remove power plant funding, the bill reduction program ended, effective Nov. 30, 2022.
BPUB collected a total of $114,809,414 from the plant-portion of the electric rate increases. Of that total, BPUB transferred $11,480,941 to the city of Brownsville. Additionally, BPUB returned $74.3 million from the power plant rate increases to electric customers from 2017 to 2022 by adjusting the Fuel and Energy Charge on customers’ bills. This was part of the "bill reduction program," which aimed to stabilize electric bills. The program was supplemented with additional BPUB funds and ended on Nov. 30, 2022, when the City Commission approved BPUB's request to adjust the electric rate to remove project funding.
There is $31,355,071 million in the TEF. This is composed of funds collected to cover debt service during the construction period of the proposed power plant as well as the interest collected on those funds.
Per Section 24.B. of the Bond Ordinance, the interest earned on the funds in the Improvement Fund flows back into the Plant Fund for Operations & Maintenance and does not stay in the Improvement Fund. BPUB is not required to add the interest to the Tenaska Equity Fund, but BPUB’s Board of Directors voted to add the total interest of approximately $2.35 million.
The average refund per 1,000 kWh residential customer is $212.18; however, the amount of individual refunds may vary quite a bit. Keep in mind that these refunds are based on consumption. That means that accounts with higher monthly bills will receive higher refund amounts. Consumption can vary from home to home quite a bit for a number of reasons, including the size of the home, number of people living there, how energy efficient the home is, weather conditions and temperature, and the amount of time with that account.
The amount of individual refunds varies. Refunds are based on consumption. That means that electric accounts with higher monthly bills will receive higher refund amounts. Consumption can vary from home to home quite a bit for a number of reasons, including the size of the home, number of people living there, how energy efficient the home is, weather conditions and temperature, and the amount of time with that account. The average refund per 1,000 kWh residential customer is $212.18.
Various assistance programs were entitled to receive refunds totaling approximately $294,000. However, the processing agencies for these programs, which included refunds designated for BPUB's SHARE program, declined the refund and requested that it be redistributed to the customers who had received assistance from their programs.
Customers who paid into the TEF from 2013 thru 2016 and have an active BPUB electric account will receive their refund as a statement credit on their bill. The credit will be labeled on the bill as “Tenaska Equity Fund Refund.” If the individual eligible for a refund is no longer a BPUB customer, a check will be issued and mailed to the last forwarding address given by the individual in accordance with BPUB policies. As such, refunds of less than $1 will not be issued a check. However, all active customers eligible for a refund will receive a statement credit regardless of amount.
BPUB cannot change the name on the check. Refunds are owed to the individual who held the account between April 2013 and September 2016. Therefore, checks are made out in their name only. You may also contact the bank directly to understand the specific steps needed to cash or deposit the check. The executor or administrator of the estate is usually responsible for handling financial matters. Legal documentation, like a death certificate and proof of authority, may be required to process the check. We recommend seeking the bank's advice if you are not the executor or administrator.
To update the address of a deceased family member that had an electric account between April 2013 to September 2016, you may present your valid identification, proof of relationship, and a death certificate of the deceased family member to a customer service representative, and they will be able to update the mailing address on the account. You may also send the request via email along with the required documents to [email protected].
Qualifying inactive customers received their refund by check to the last forwarding address provided to BPUB. If you recently moved into your current address, it's possible that the check was intended for a previous resident who did not provide a forwarding address to BPUB.
If you have received a check addressed to someone else or sent to the wrong address, follow the steps below:
Write "Return to Sender" on the envelope: If you received the check in an unopened envelope, write "Return to Sender" clearly. This will inform the postal service to return the envelope to the sender, BPUB (Brownsville Public Utilities Board).
Return the check to BPUB: If you accidentally opened the envelope or the envelope, it is recommended to return the check directly to BPUB. Write "Return to Sender" on the envelope or a note, along with an explanation that the check was sent to the wrong person/address. Mail or drop off the envelope containing the check to the following address:
1425 Robinhood Dr.
Brownsville, TX, 78520
BPUB cannot change the name on a check issued to your business. Once a business is dissolved, its legal existence ceases, and it no longer has the authority to conduct financial transactions. We recommend reaching out to your bank and explain the situation. They can provide specific procedures for handling checks issued to dissolved businesses. They may require you to provide documentation proving the dissolution of your business.
Yes, all BPUB electric customers active between April 2013 and September 2016 are eligible to receive a refund. Refunds will be based on electric consumption during that time period.
You might receive a refund if you were a BPUB electric customer between April 2013 and September 2016.
You will be refunded as a credit on your account based on the amount of electricity consumed in your household. This means that you will receive back what you paid into the TEF. Additionally, the city of Brownsville and BPUB have combined their refunds and will distribute it equally among all active TEF customers as of May 1, 2023, as an account credit. This additional $1.6 million will ensure that each of these active customers will receive at least an estimated $48.91 credit, in addition to any other refund they may receive.
You will receive a refund, but it will be offset against any debts owed to BPUB.
To ensure timely delivery of all refunds, we are not allowing customers to opt out; however, customers can donate to the BPUB Project SHARE program, which assists customers in paying utility bills.
If you qualify for a refund, it will be sent to you by mail to the last forwarding address given to BPUB, but if the refund amount is less than $1, a check will not be issued.
Yes, BPUB will refund all accounts meeting the refund terms. Any inactive accounts will have their refunds mailed to the last known address in BPUB’s system. If these checks are not cashed, then they will be turned over to the state as unclaimed property.
You will receive a refund, but it will be offset against any debts owed to BPUB.
Refunds are based on the amount of consumption from an account during the April 2013 to September 2016 timeframe.
There are 62,794 residential customers who will receive a refund and 8,208 commercial customers.
The joint subcommittee composed of representatives from the city of Brownsville and BPUB recommended that they not receive their refunds. Instead, they recommended that these funds, which add up to $1,681,018.70, be distributed equally among TEF timeframe customers who are still active electric account holders as of May 1, 2023. At a May 1 BPUB special board meeting, BPUB voted to accept the subcommittee’s recommendation, and the Brownsville City Commission approved the resolution May 2.
This additional $1.6 million will ensure that each of these active customers will receive at least an estimated $48.91, in addition to any other refund they may receive. Please note that the estimate is based on eligible customers and may change by May 1.
Refunds only go to BPUB electric customers between April 2013 and September 2016. These are the customers who paid into the TEF. No portion of water or wastewater rates went into the TEF.
Refunds only go to BPUB electric customers between April 2013 and September 2016.