The Players

The utility, the appellants, and the intervenors

Austin Energy The city-owned utility that raised electric rates. Key representatives are Mark Dreyfus, who heads the utility's policy shop, and Ann Little, its CFO.

Homeowners United for Rate Fairness These out-of-city ratepayers virtually promised AE that they would challenge any substantial rate increase. They made good on that promise in August, kicking off a process whereby administrative law judges could review the utility's rates and rate design.

Public Utility Commission This governor-appointed three-member body monitors electric ratemaking, among other things. The PUC's legal and rate analysis staff filed hefty critiques of AE's stated rate requirement, transfer policies, and other utility business. It was enough, some say, to force AE to the settlement table.

Office of Public Utility Counsel The state-level consumer agency charged with representing telephone and electric utility customers. OPUC staff offered rafts of criticism over multiple aspects of AE's rate design, including its revenue requirement, reserve and debt policies, and – strangely – its customer assistance program.

Data Foundry Inc. An electronic data warehouse that was strongly opposed to rate increases throughout the city's process. They were admitted into the case as intervenors in mid-November, over AE's objections.

Texas Legal Services Center and Tex­as ROSE Two separate entities that appear to have filed almost all of their documents in the case jointly. During City Council rate proceedings, each urged Council to hire an independent consumer advocate and each was critical of the pressure that increased rates would bring on affordability. They were accepted as intervenors in late 2012. In an odd turn, they found themselves defending the utility against a PUC attack on AE's customer assistance program.

Westlake United Methodist Church A latecomer to the process, it intervened to defend a rate discount AE offered to area houses of worship.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Energy, Homeowners United for Rate Fairness, Data Foundry, Public Utility Commission, Office of the Public Utility Counsel, Texas Legal Services Center and Texas ROSE, Westlake United Methodist Church

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