(AUSTIN) – AARP Texas has joined the Texas Consumer Association in sending an emergency petition to the Public Utility Commission related to the dangerous heat across the state. The petition asks the PUC to immediately suspend the current rules on the disconnection of electric service during extreme weather and impose a moratorium on all electric service disconnections of residential premises for bill arrearages or lack of payment until on or after Sept. 15.
The petition further asks the Commission to immediately direct the state’s transmission and distribution utilities and retail electric providers to report on the number of their current electric accounts disconnected for lack of payment and update those reports weekly through at least November 2023.
“The extreme heat in Texas demands emergency measures be taken. Too many vulnerable residents, especially our older Texans, find themselves struggling to pay rising energy bills. If they are disconnected, they risk heat-related illnesses or worse,” said AARP Texas Director Tina Tran. “This is further complicated when a household is also dependent on life-sustaining medical equipment. The PUC should act to place a moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment until mid-September. This is truly a life-or-death situation.”
Many residents will face energy bills totaling 8% to 12% of their monthly income this summer. In March, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 44.8% of Texans faced energy insecurity and had to reduce their payments for other necessities such as food, medicine or rent to pay their energy bills.