ACORN Calls for Moratorium on Summer Electric Disconnects
by: Ed Mayberry, June 13, 2007 5:06:00 am
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is requesting an emergency ruling from PUC commissioners to re-enact a moratorium on shut-offs during the summer. Representative Sylvester Turner says they issued the emergency ruling last summer.
"The companies could not disconnect low-income seniors, critical care patients and people who were making 125 percent of the federal poverty level--couldn't disconnect them through the end of September."
Turner says when it gets hot, seniors have to juggle the high cost of power with the high cost of food, gasoline and medicine.
"Let me tell you, every year right around this time during the summertime, seniors and other sdie across this state, number one because they cannot afford their electricity bills, to pay them. Or they choose not to use their air conditioners, and primarily we're talking about seniors who are losing their lives every summer."
Representative Turner says the recent legislative session failed to pass a bill that would have lowered rates and mandated summer moratoriums on disconnections. He's asking for a special session to address rate reductions and other utility-related problems.
"Companies are imposing these cancellation fees, that if you try to switch, going from one company to another, you have to pay a cacellation fee, and then when you go into another company, in many cases you have to pay a deposit. and so for low-income seniors, critical care patients and people who are making 125 percent of the federal poverty level, it keeps them locked in paying these high electricity bills."
Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.