Electricity Shopping Could Get Even More Difficult If These Texas Leaders Get Their Way

Uh-oh.We have a problem.In the 2019 fight to fix electricity shopping in Texas, now in Round 1 in the Legislature, our campaign was hit with a potent one-two punch combo this week and knocked to the mat.The Watchdog is trying to get back up, but frankly, I'm seeing stars.First, rookie State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, in only his sixth week as a lawmaker, introduced a bill that would shut down permanently the state-run PowerToChoose.org website, a neutral shopping site that millions of Texans use to compare electricity prices.Patterson works for a Carrollton company that helps big industrial and commercial clients find the right electricity contracts. He told me in an interview that neither he nor his company works in the residential market, so he sees no conflict of interest.Usually, it's a safe bet that a freshman lawmaker still learning his or her way around the state Capitol isn't going to get such an important bill passed.But Patterson, who represents a good chunk of Denton County, has a strong ally. And that ally is the one that sent me to the canvass with the second punch in that combo.State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, made a proposal in a public committee meeting in Austin to shut down PowerToChoose.org for six months to "see what happens."That was the right hook I didn't see coming.Remember last summer I visited King in his Weatherford law office and laid out a summary of the hundreds of complaints about electricity shopping I receive every year.King, who is respected as an expert on electricity because he's been around since the early days of deregulation, told me he'd take a look.I guess I didn't do a very good job.  Continue reading...

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