Data Foundry wins court appeal on Texas electricity prices

Data Foundry wins court appeal on Texas electricity prices

Data Foundry - Houston DC.jpg

Texas data centre services firm Data Foundry says it has won new rights for businesses and residents to challenge “discriminatory” energy rates imposed by municipalities.

The company, which has data centres in Austin and Houston (pictured), has won a Texas Supreme Court decision against the City of Austin.

In 2016, Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s municipal power authority, conducted a consumer rate review in which Data Foundry participated in. After the rate review was completed new rates were imposed from 1 January 2017.

“Recognising that the rates were excessive and discriminatory”, said Data Foundry, it sued Austin Energy in the Texas District Court. After the court ruled that consumers like Data Foundry could not challenge rates set by municipal utilities, the company appealed.

It went to the Texas Supreme Court seeking confirmation that Texas law “guarantees” consumers have the right to challenge “potentially excessive and discriminatory electricity rates”.

The Supreme Court has now notified Data Foundry that it has won its appeal against the City of Austin and is now able to proceed with a lawsuit against the utility.

“As an industrial-scale buyer of power, and through efficient design and operations of our facilities, Data Foundry ensures customers achieve optimal utilisation when they choose our services and facilities,” said Edward Henigin, CTO of Data Foundry.

He said: “Any unfair electric rate impacts our customers both directly and indirectly, and it’s in our best interest to protect them. We took on this fight to ensure our customers don’t get taken advantage of - to help reduce overall costs - while ensuring we can provide the best products at the most competitive prices.”

Henigin added: “This win sets a whole new standard. We know it’s a long road ahead but we’re committed to do what’s right for all Texans.”

Austin Energy returns its profits to the City of Austin's general fund to finance other city services. So far, it has not publicly commented on the latest court ruling.

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