THUMB AWARD Bad, Bad Bills

Thumbs down to Dallas state Senator Ike Harris and state Representative Patrìcìa Hìll for introducing legislation that would wipe out important utility reforms that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars. The bills would prevent the attorney general’s office from intervening in rate hike cases (the state is the largest utility consumer in Texas). The new legislation would also end reimbursements to cities for legal fees incurred in fighting rate hikes. Since the fall of 1984, the attorney general’s office has saved ratepayers some $42 million in electrical and telephone increases. More than $39 million in potential rate hikes are now pending. Utility companies have a right to press vigorously for increases they feel are justified; consumers should not be hampered in pushing back.

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