Texas cities cut their power bills

More than 100 Texas municipalities, including several in Tarrant County, expect to cut their annual electricity bill by at least $30 million this year under the terms of a new five-year contract with Direct Energy and FPL Energy.

Geoffrey Gay, an Austin attorney for the Cities Aggregation Power Project, said member cities will pay between 5 cents and 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for power, plus distribution and administrative charges, depending on their location. West Texas enjoys the lowest power prices, thanks to a surplus of wind power there, while Houston and South Texas typically have the highest prices.

North Texas cities in the project include Arlington, Grapevine and North Richland Hills. They paid about 10.5 cents per kwh on average for their power last year, Gay said.

About 50 smaller communities in another group, the South Texas Aggregation Project, will buy their electricity under similar terms, Gay said.

"By contracting now, CAPP members are able to take full advantage of the dip in energy prices that occurred in the latter half of 2008," the project said in a release. Those prices are generally locked in through 2014, it said. Natural gas is a major component in electricity generation.

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