I do love Rep. Lon Burnam [D-Fort Worth]. When the people of Texas are getting screwed and most politicians are too busy trying to cover their butts to care about it, Burnam is not afraid to step forward to fight for the citizens of Texas. Now he has done it again.
Before electric rates were deregulated in 2002, the rates in Texas were at or below the national average. Since deregulation, the electric rates in Texas have increased by over 80%. Frankly, the power companies have taken advantage of deregulation to fleece Texans and give themselves huge windfall profits.
When arguing for deregulation, the power companies along with Republicans, kept saying that deregulation would result in savings for Texas consumers. This was obviously a lie. Electric rates have never been higher.
Today, Rep. Burnam filed House Bill 395. This bill would require the Public Utility Commission to present alternatives to the present system, if electric prices are not at or below the national average in the summer of 2008. The PUC report would be due on the first day of the 2009 legislative session.
Rep. Burnam says:
"My constituents, like millions of others across the state, are paying significantly more under deregulation, regardless of whether they have switched to a new provider. Electric deregulation in Texas has been incredibly one-sided; big companies are making billion dollar profits while households are paying record high electricity prices. While we need real reforms to the electric market now, it is essential we explore alternatives for the longer term. This bill would direct the PUC to do exactly that.
The Legislature needs to act now to protect consumers. I talked to a doctor just today who told me he's never had so many patients report that they are choosing between medication and electricity than he has this year. This bill helps prepare Texas to change direction if we continue down this road of ever increasing prices."