Pecos Power at an All-Time High

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's a price hike that's squeezing home and business owners all over West Texas. 

The Texas-New Mexico Power Company is asking for a rate increase that's the highest some cities have ever seen. 

City leaders are trying to figure out why the price is skyrocketing.

"Every month, we almost have cardiac arrest," Mary Perea, Owner Taylor's Flowers for 40 years, said. "It's terrible."

Small business owners like Mary Perea say the high electricity bill is eating her lunch.

"Our profits are going through the electrical tubes," Perea said. "It's gotten to the point where each month, we don't know what to expect from these people."

That's why on Wednesday morning, the City of Pecos joined a coalition of West Texas cities to find out why it's so expensive.

"All the city is asking is that they please suspend the day of the rate increase until we have a chance to review it and get a better understanding of why the increase is so large," Pecos Mayor Richard Alligood, said.

The Texas-New Mexico Power Company is now asking for about an 80% increase for small businesses and street lighting, a 23% rate increase for residential areas. And for an average Pecos home, that's about $50 more each month.

"It's the largest increase we've seen on electrical energy," Mayor Alligood said.

"It's to the point where in the future, either we shut down or sell out or just scale down," Perea said. "The florist industry relies a lot on electricity because we have walk in coolers and a lot of refridgeration with our flowers and all."

Pecos officials are working with Austin Attorney Alfred Herrera to delay the October 3rd increase for 90 days until they get some answers. He tells NewsWest 9 that about 7,000 customers in eight West Texas cities will be affected: Barstow, Fort Stockton, Kermit, Pecos, Sanderson, Toyah, Wickett, and Wink.

They're just beginning their investigation, but in the meantime, Pecos leaders are thinking about switching power companies.

"How are my fixed income residents going to be able to survive with such a tremendous increase?" Mayor Alligood said. "They're not seeing a 23% increase in their fixed income rates of social security and any other support they may be receiving."

"It's to the point that we don't know what other steps to take," Perea said. "We're so frustrated with the rates. I don't know what else to do."