AARP Texas joined a petition filed before the Public Utility Commission (PUC) today by Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston to prevent dangerous electricity disconnections this summer.
“As triple digit temperatures become the norm, it is imperative that we take immediate action to prevent tragedies in our state,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas state director. “While AARP continues to urge the Texas Legislature to fix the problem permanently, we ask the PUC to do the responsible thing and protect the lives and health of many citizens who are at increased risk this summer.”
The combination of high electricity bills and overly aggressive disconnection policies is putting the medically frail, seniors and other vulnerable individuals at risk of heat related illness or death. Although bills were introduced this session that would have improved electricity disconnection protections for Texans, the Legislature failed to pass them. Representative Turner’s petition provides a temporary fix which allows any unpaid balances accrued to be repaid by customers through a deferred payment plan.
“The dog days of summer are here and it’s still only June,” Jackson added. “We’ve had preventable tragedies in our state in recent years and must avoid a repeat at all costs. The time to act is now.”