An advocate for free market principles, Senator Charles Schwertner files SB 182 to lower utility bills for Texas families, provide consumers with choice and competition in the retail electric market, and bring an end to electric utility monopolies.
AUSTIN, TX — Today, Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) filed SB 182 to help lower electricity costs for Texas families by giving more Texans a choice when it comes to their electric utility provider.
“Texans are struggling right now…the Coronavirus hit a lot of family’s pocketbooks, changing where they work, and causing them to rethink where they can cut expenses,” said Schwertner. “In 1999, many Texans were moved into a competitive electric market to provide consumers with options that best fit their family’s needs. Unfortunately, many other Texans were left in electric utility monopolies that don’t always put the consumer first. SB 182 is a step toward changing that.”
SB 182 will ensure that more Texas utility customers have options if their city utility acts without the consumers best interest and pocketbook in mind. The legislation would break up electric utility monopolies that charge consumers substantially more (>10%) than the comparable competitive market region over a five-year period. The five-year period will allow for required expenses like maintenance and infrastructure upgrades. This evaluation will be conducted by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). If the process for moving a city utility to the competitive market is triggered, it will follow the same process put in place when the competitive market was first created in 1999.
“Too many of my constituents are trapped in a non-competitive monopoly for their electricity, leaving them holding the bag for the financial mismanagement of the utility,” continued Schwertner. “This happened in my district, where the City of Georgetown’s electric utility gambled with some of their business decisions and lost, leading to rate increases for all customers over the last few years. In a competitive market, consumers would have the option to choose a better provider and pay lower rates.”
In November 2018, Dr. Charles Schwertner was reelected to serve the citizens of Senate District 5, a ten-county region of central and east Texas.