Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 1999
Contact: Dave Nelson
(512) 463-0112

Nelson customer protection bill passes full Senate

AUSTIN -- The Senate today finally passed Senate Bill 86, a utility customer protection bill filed by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. The bill aims to cure deceptive marketing problems in the telecommunication industry and prevent them from occurring in the electric industry, should the Legislature decide to open it up for competition.

Specifically, Senator Nelson's bill targets "cramming," which occurs when companies charge customers for services they have not authorized, and "slamming," the practice of changing a customer's long-distance carrier without permission. It would also prevent "shocking," the catch word for the equivalent of "slamming" in the electric industry, as well as other potential abuses in that industry.

"The Texas Senate has accomplished two things: We turned the tables on slammers, crammers, other scammers in the telecommunications industry. The bad apples in that industry know that after this bill becomes law, we're coming after them. And they're not happy about it. Secondly, we laid the groundwork for electric restructuring. We have sent that industry a clear message: If you want to compete for business in Texas, you better do it fairly. And if you don't, we're going to pull the plug on you," Nelson said.

SB 86 also requires the Texas Public Utilities Commission to create a "no-call" list that will allow Texans to prevents telemarketers in the utility industry from calling them to make sales pitches.

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