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PUC stalls, then punts on immediate electric disconnection relief

AARP remains hopeful on a long term solution

AUSTIN, TX – After running down the clock for weeks, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) today finally punted when it came time to provide immediate relief to Texans who face electricity disconnections in the midst of record-breaking temperatures.

The commissioners denied a petition filed by AARP and Rep. Sylvester Turner that would have required the disclosure of available discounts for low-income households in monthly electric bills and temporarily prohibited cancellation fees charged to customers who seek to switch to new providers with lower rates. The PUC, however, will take up the issue in the fall as a possible permanent rule.

“We’re disappointed that the commissioners missed an opportunity to bring real relief to vulnerable Texans this summer,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas state director.  “Triple- digit temperatures are common in Texas well into September, so this delay will leave many Texans at risk before fall temperatures begin to kick in.”

Jackson, however, was hopeful that the PUC will address the issue once and for all through a permanent rule.  “It is their responsibility as regulators, and no one else’s, to make sure that the market is functional and responsive to the needs of ratepayers.  We look forward to working with them to see that this is done.”

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