General Information

Purpose

New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) is a municipally owned utility, operating under a five-member Board of Trustees (Board). The Board consists of four individuals appointed by the New Braunfels City Council (City Council) to five-year terms, and the current mayor of the City. The elected City Council maintains regulatory control by appointing the Board, approving all rate changes, and authorizing bond issuances.

The New Braunfels Utilities vision is to be recognized as a trusted community partner dedicated to excellence in service through the mission of "Enhancing the quality of our community by providing innovative essential services."

History

New Braunfels Utilities was established in 1942 when the City Commission of New Braunfels, Texas, purchased from Guadalupe Electric Company, the electric transmission and distribution systems, formerly owned by the San Antonio Public Service Company that served the City of New Braunfels, Texas (City or New Braunfels) and the surrounding area. In 1959, operations of the water and wastewater systems were transferred to NBU from the City.

Facilities and Operations

New Braunfels Utilities’ electric system, comprising a service area of approximately 160 square miles, includes the City and the surrounding area. The electric system includes 622 miles of overhead distribution line, 304 miles of underground distribution line, ten substation/metering points on the transmission system, and other buildings, equipment, and related facilities.

The water system includes 573 miles of water mains, an 8 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) surface water treatment plant, a 3.5 MGD membrane treatment facility, 13 groundwater wells, and 18 pump stations with 54 active pumps. Storage capacity of approximately 11.1 million gallons is maintained in elevated tanks and 7.4 million gallons in ground storage tanks. The majority of the water service territory, totaling approximately 88 square miles, is within Comal County, with some customer service in Guadalupe County.

The municipal wastewater system contains approximately 427 miles of sanitary sewer lines and is served by four water reclamation facilities with a combined treatment capacity of 10.9 MGD and 26 lift stations. While use of chlorinated effluent for plant cleaning at all four water reclamation facilities serves to minimize potable water usage and the associated maintenance costs at the plants, the Sam C. McKenzie, Jr. Water Reclamation Facility is NBU’s first to utilize ultraviolet light in addition to chlorine for disinfection.

Financial Information

Management of NBU is responsible for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure designed to ensure that assets are protected from loss, theft, and misuse and to ensure that adequate accounting data is compiled to allow for the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.

The annual budget serves as the foundation for NBU’s financial planning and control. New Braunfels Utilities is required by Board policy to adopt an annual financial plan, which covers the upcoming fiscal year in detail and incorporates a plan for an additional nine fiscal years.

For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2018, operating revenues totaled $144.3 million, and operating expenses totaled $136.9 million. Purchased power costs represented 63.3 percent, or $86.7 million, of total operating expenses. Transmission and distribution expenses were approximately $8.1 million, or 5.9 percent, of operating expenses, and all direct water related expenses totaled $9.5 million, or 6.9 percent, of operating expenses.

Rates

New Braunfels Utilities acquires power supply from various suppliers in the ERCOT electricity market. New Braunfels Utilities positions its power supply portfolio to encompass diversification of supply from various: counterparties, tenors of contract duration, and load shapes in order to procure power for its customers that is reliable, low cost, and has reduced price volatility.

New Braunfels Utilities’ electric rates are unbundled into distribution charges, generation charges, and transmission charges. Distribution charges are comprised of fixed customer charges and variable kWh charges designed to recover NBU’s cost to maintain its electric infrastructure and deliver reliable service to its customers. Through its efficient operation, NBU has been able to manage these costs.

Water and wastewater rates charged to NBU’s customers are comparable, and generally lower, to other rates in the region. These low rates have been achieved by efficient long-term operations and planning.