PUC May Crack Down on Deadbeat Customers

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    Electric companies stuck after customers rack up bills, then switch to a new provider and leave the old bill unpaid could get help from the Texas Public Utility Commission.

    Electric companies stuck after customers rack up bills, then switch to a new provider and leave the old bill unpaid could get help from the Texas Public Utility Commission.

    The PUC this month is scheduled to consider preventing some nonpaying customers from switching providers until they pay their previous utility debt.

    Stream Energy chairman Rob Snyder says some people "switch professionally." He estimates his company gave away about $30 million in electricity last year to people who didn't pay their bills, and as much as $7 million was to people who manipulated the system.

    The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that, according to electricity companies representing about a quarter of the Texas industry, unpaid bills equal around 4 percent of total revenue.