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Texas Energy Fund Sparks Outrage: Billions For Billionaires, Neglecting Struggling Consumers

When the November 7 election comes around, taxpayers will be posed with a crucial question: How do you feel about giving taxpayer money to companies that don’t necessarily need it or even want it?

According to an article by The Dallas Morning News, the state constitutional amendment ballot will determine whether a Texas Energy Fund should be created, with the purpose of supporting the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.

The proposed fund, initially worth $5 billion but potentially growing to $10 billion, will be overseen by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and offer low-interest loans over a 20-year period, as well as non-repayable grants. Although the cost is covered by taxpayers, it will not be directly added to their monthly bills.

The funds are intended to support electric generating facilities functioning as backup power sources.

Sandra Haverlah, the president of the Texas Consumer Association, expressed her dissatisfaction, telling the Dallas Morning News that lawmakers could have used some of the record surplus funds to help give electricity bill relief to Texans, but instead “they gave low-interest loans to multibillion-dollar companies that don’t need the money.” 

In addition, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1015, which raised concerns about rate adjustments for transmission and distribution companies like Oncor, which operate power lines.

Under this bill, these companies would be allowed to request rate adjustments twice a year instead of once. According to experts in the energy sector, this bill could benefit utility companies by enabling more frequent rate adjustments, ultimately leading to increased profits, which means higher rates for customers.

However, they also acknowledged that the PUC retains regulatory powers and can disallow rate increases if deemed necessary.

Unfortunately, consumers did not witness significant progress in the session in terms of weatherization, energy efficiency, or consumer rebates. The session primarily favored the oil and gas lobby, leaving these important consumer-oriented matters unaddressed.

Written by RA News staff.


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