Legislation removes PUC protections
More now on a story we first brought you two weeks ago.
Oncor Electric is charging rate payers for what critics are calling phantom taxes.
Now the last line of defense for customers has been removed by the Texas legislature.
And according to some observers, that means you will pay more for electricity.
Oncor is part of a big corporate conglomerate called Energy Future Holdings, and it in turn owns TXU Energy, Luminant and Oncor.
And because they are operating in the red, they don’t pay any corporate income taxes.
But Oncor still collects them from you, so far, totaling over 800-million dollars.
The only hope for relief for ratepayers was the Public Utility Commission who has the power to reduce those tax collections, and has in the past.
But no more.
After heavy lobbying by power companies, a bill passed on Friday has taken away that power.
The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power says, that money now goes straight to the corporate bottom line.
"The Public Utility Commission is aware of this dynamic,” says Jake Dyer of the Coalition, “and they apply an adjustment on rates to insure that utility rate payers are not burdened by these phantom taxes. This legislation would remove the PUC's discretion to look at this issue. This legislation will lead, without a doubt, to higher utility rates than we would otherwise see."