State Senator Lois Kolkhorst has filed legislation to clarify that electricity is a necessity during a declared state of disaster, following last week’s winter storm which led to power outages for millions of Texans.

State Senator Lois Kolkhorst speaks on the Senate floor.
(courtesy Office of Lois Kolkhorst)

Kolkhorst on Monday filed Senate Bill 680.  The bill seeks to amend the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), which contains what is known as the “price-gouging” statute, enumerating what qualifies as a necessity during a declared disaster.

According to the bill, electricity would be included with items such as food, fuel, and medicine that the sale or lease of at excessive prices, or the demanding of exorbitant prices in connection with their sale, would be considered “false, misleading or deceptive” and “taking advantage of a disaster” declared by the Texas governor or the President of the United States.

Kolkhorst said, “Just as merchants are prohibited from outrageous spikes in the cost of water or gasoline after a hurricane, it should be clear that the same predatory behavior is prohibited for electricity.  No Texan deserves to be price gouged for basic necessities during a state of disaster.  I will have no part in companies profiting off of their own failures.”

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One Comment

  1. It seems like they’d have to fundamentally change the insane way that ERCOT and the Reliability Deployment Price Adder works, since the Texas Public Utilities Commission forced ERCOT to push the price to the statutory max of $9,000 per MW during the rolling blackouts. It wasn’t like the generation providers just put the screws in for fun.

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