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Groups demand action on rising energy rates, worker conditions in rally outside Austin Energy HQ

The rally comes after Austin Energy recently proposed an increased "pass-through" rate in addition to a base rate increase.

AUSTIN, Texas — Residents rallied outside of the Austin Energy headquarters on Saturday, demanding the electric utility company address certain issues.

Specifically, rally participants called for Austin Energy to address rising energy costs, improve working conditions for construction workers and expand clean energy. 

Texas Climate Jobs Action Fund hosted the rally with the Texas AFL-CIO, Austin Central Labor Council and several other groups. 

"We want to stop the rate hikes that Austin Energy has proposed. It was originally just won a base rate hike, but actually, they've just added a second rate hike. And so, we're trying to tell Austin Energy that they cannot pass on these high electricity bills to working people," Texas Climate Jobs Action Campaign Director Stephanie Corte said.

The rally comes after Austin Energy recently proposed an increased "pass-through" rate that could cost the average residential customer an extra $20 per month. 

The pass-through rate goes toward things like purchases from the ERCOT wholesale energy market, transmission costs and community benefit programs. If approved by the Austin City Council, the new pass-through rates will take effect on Nov. 1.

The pass-through rate is in addition to a proposed base rate increase. According to a July report by Community Impact, the base rate increase is being considered as the utility provider needs a $48 million base revenue increase due to revenue not keeping up with the current cost.

Rally participants said they would continue to raise their voices as the pass-through and base rate head for votes. 

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