From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2006
CONTACT: Melissa del Bosque (512) 463-0120, cell (512) 947-4046

Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa Urges Residents to Contact PUC about Life-saving Emergency Rule Petition

AUSTIN -- Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa is urging Texans to support a petition filed Thursday for an emergency rule to stop electricity disconnections during the intense Texas summer heat.

The Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) and statewide consumer groups filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission (PUC). If adopted, retail electric providers or electric utilities may not disconnect certain residential customers for non-payment of their electric bills until after September 30, 2006.

"This emergency rule could literally save thousands of lives this summer," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "I am deeply concerned about how our elderly and medically fragile Texans are going to survive through the summer with the high cost of electricity rates."

The OPUC and consumer group petition requests that from July 1st to September 30th this year, that retail electric providers and electric utilities maintain service for Residential Critical Care Customers and seniors over the age of 65. The petition also requests that electric companies not disconnect service for the general public if they make minimum payments during the summer months. Customers would receive a deferred payment plan until after the Summer.

Recent PUC data shows that on average more than 600,000 Texans receive disconnection notices every month. Of this number, at least 74,000 residential electric customers are disconnected each month.In addition, from March 2005 to March 2006, 108 of those disconnected customers were designated as Residential Critical Care which is defined by the PUC as "for whom an interruption or suspension of electric service will create a dangerous or life threatening condition."

Senator Hinojosa is encouraging Texans to contact the PUC and let them know that they are in favor of the PUC adopting the petition for an emergency rule.

"This is a practical solution to a very serious issue that could effect thousands of lives across Texas," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa. "I encourage citizens to show their support for this petition."

To contact the Public Utility Commission by mail:

1701 N. Congress Avenue
P.O. Box 13326
Austin, Texas 78711-3326

To contact the PUC toll-free: (888) 782-8477 (English or Spanish)

To contact by email: customer@puc.state.tx.us

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