News

  • Consumers ask Texas PUC to Investigate Pre-paid Electricity Service

    May 19th, Austin Texas - A Texas consumer group filed a petition today asking the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to investigate Direct Energy’s business practices in its Power-to-Go prepaid electricity product.  The petition was filed by Texas Ratepayers’ Organization to Save Energy (Texas ROSE) with a statement from a former employee concerned about the disconnection process and the health and wellbeing of the low-income and minority families who are given little choice except to take the Power-to-Go option. In December of last year Carol Biedrzycki, executive director of Texas ROSE, issued a report examining the features of prepaid service plans and concluded that there is no evidence that the plans are in the best interests of residential and low-income consumers.  She was contacted by David Korn, a former employee of Direct Energy’s customer service contractor, APAC Customer Services, in February.  After reviewing the documents on file at the Public Utility Commission he contac...
  • Texas ROSE report: Prepaid service is high risk with little protection for consumers

    A new report from Texas ROSE documents the terms and conditions of buying prepaid electricity and the fees charged by prepaid REPs in deregulated areas of Texas.  You may download a PDF file of the full prepaid electricity analysis and report here on this website. The report documents that prepaid service is high risk and provides little or no protection to the low-income consumers targeted for buying the service. The report concludes that prepaid service is substandard and asks the PUC to take a number of steps to reform prepaid service....
  • Texas ROSE-2013 Report on REP fees

    Download our report Texas ROSE recently conducted a survey to gather information for consumers in Texas about fees - sometimes very high fees - charged by retail electric providers (REPs). Fees can make a big difference in what a consumer pays for electricity. When choosing a REP, fees should be carefully studied along with the electricity price offered by the REP. The tables in this report demonstrate, at a given point in time, the vast differences in fees being charged by different retailers in the Texas electricity market. Read the full report on REP fees in PDF format Fees Summary - 2013 Report by Texas ROSE (PDF)...
  • Interview with ED Carol Biedrzycki reveals consumers being hit with unecessary extra fees

    Texas ROSE Executive Director Carol Biedrzycki was interviewed following the distribution of a survey of billing practices by Texas utility providers. The Watchdog column of the Dallas Morning News written by Dave Lieber concluded that there is no standardization for fees in either their presentation to customers or actual charges. They found the results to be quite willy-nilly and cautioned electricity buyers to beware. Read the full interview: Texas electricity companies profit from fees that some call ‘money for nothing’ ...
  • System Benefit Fund Hearing

    An Interim Committee on General Revenue Dedicated Accounts of the Texas House of Representatives held a hearing on Friday, November 9th, on the System Benefit Fund (SBF). The SBF was created as part of electric deregulation in Texas. The SBF was established to fund the LITE-UP TEXAS electric rate discount, bill payment assistance for ill and disabled customers, low-income weatherization, and customer education. To maintain the SBF, electric customers in deregulated areas of Texas are charged a fee on their bills. The fee is 65 cents per 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity used. All customers in all customer classes pay the fee. The fee collects about $150 million per year. The problem with the SBF is not its purposes, but that its funds are not being used fully for the programs. A large portion of the SBF is used to balance the state budget while the needs of the low-income electricity consumers go unmet. Carol Biedrzycki, executive director of Texas ROSE filed testimony y...