News Release From the Office of State Senator Wendy Davis

May 30, 2009
Contact: Bernie Scheffler, (512) 463-0110

Davis, Turner Successfully Steer Electricity Legislation Through Challenging Legislative Session
Major Victory for Consumers Belies Legislators' Freshman Status

AUSTIN — enator Wendy Davis and Representative Chris Turner, both legislative freshman from Tarrant County, last night won final passage of legislation designed to help Texas families cope with the state's higher-than-average electricity rates. The accomplishment would be considered a major victory, even for a veteran lawmaker.

"It has been an uphill battle with some powerful interests, but we succeeded in passing legislation that will have a very real, very positive impact on Texas families and their pocketbooks," Senator Wendy Davis said. "This is a common-sense measure that will give people an opportunity to shop around and secure the best electricity rates available, taking advantage of the competition among electricity retailers."

The legislation, which was passed in the form of an amendment to another consumer bill, is based on Davis' Senate Bill 1468 and Turner's House Bill 995, identical measures that would require electricity retailers to notify their fixed-price customers in writing when their contracts are soon to expire. According to Senator Davis, the legislation was inspired by concerns voiced by homeowners last summer, when many were shocked to see their electric bills double from one month to the next after their contracts ended.

Both bills stalled in the legislative session, but the measure was revived in the Senate Tuesday night when Senator Davis won passage of the measure as an amendment on Representative Burt Solomons' House Bill 1822, another piece of electricity consumer protection legislation. Last night the House voted to allow the amendment to remain on the bill, assuring that the measure will make its way to the Governor's desk.

Senator Davis and Representative Turner both expressed thanks for Representative Solomons' leadership in winning House concurrence with the amendment, and pride upon steering the legislation through a challenging legislative session.

"This legislation is a major victory for Texas families. It will provide more transparency for consumers by preventing unexpected, dramatic utility rate hikes," said State Representative Chris Turner. "I applaud Senator Wendy Davis for her hard work in getting these provisions into the bill and for her strong leadership on consumer issues."