Following last week’s winter storm, many Texas consumers saw their wholesale electricity rates shoot up significantly, leaving them worried that their power would be disconnected if they were unable to make their utility payments. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has put in place several orders last Sunday that aim to protect Texans from utility disconnections for non-payment. 

In addition, these orders ensure the continuance of the current COVID-19 measure, which requires retail electric providers to offer deferred payment plans to customers upon request. 

These orders apply to investor owned utilities (IOUs) across Texas that fall under the PUC jurisdiction: Oncor, American Electric Power, CenterPoint, and Texas-New Mexico Power. They do not, however, apply to municipally-owned utilities or electric cooperatives that aren’t within the PUC jurisdiction. 

The PUC’s order asks that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grant some flexibility in deadlines and invoice payments while state leaders deliberate possible solutions to the financial difficulties brought on by the grid event. 

For information on your rights as a utility customer, visit the Public Utility Commission of Texas website. For legal assistance, contact Lone Star Legal Aid at 1 (800) 733 8394. 

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

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