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‘Abbott Tax’: O’Rourke says Texans’ electricity bills rise as governor does nothing on grid

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke is once again calling Gov. Greg Abbott – saying the governor is letting taxpayers foot the bill for repairing the state’s energy grid.

“Many of you are already seeing an increase in utility bills,” says O’Rourke. “In fact, the average Texas household, by the end of this winter, will see an increase in their utility bills of between $ 20 and $ 50. per month go forward.

O’Rourke says Texans will pay the “tens of billions” it takes to avoid another mass blackout this winter. Concerns about the reliability of the electricity grid have persisted since the deadly winter storm in February, which left millions of people without heat or light for days in freezing temperatures.

Some responded to O’Rourke’s tweet with photos of their electricity bills, and many said their suppliers have been steadily increasing prices recently.

“This is the ‘Abbott tax’ – because Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, did not prepare our electricity grid and did nothing of significance after the failure of this grid to ensure that we do not. ‘have no other problems in the future. “

And O’Rourke said the increases don’t stop there.

To add insult to injury, yesterday Abbott’s appointees to the Public Services Board decided to add an additional $ 15 to $ 20 on top of the bill you are already paying – adding to the “Abbott tax” that every Texas taxpayer will cheekily pay, not just for months but for years into the future.

This week, PUC approved several changes in the functioning of the state’s electricity market. PUC President Peter Lake said the changes reflect a greater focus on reliability rather than affordability.

O’Rourke further claims that while PUC was meeting, Abbott was meeting with energy officials “who helped cause the problem with Greg Abbott in the first place.” O’Rourke says those executives donated more than $ 4.6 million to Abbott’s re-election campaign.

As of June 2021, Texas energy executives had already donated the money to Abbott’s campaign, reports the Texas Ethics Commission.

“[This helps] to explain why he did nothing to protect the network in the future. He’s more interested in monitoring his campaign contributors than in protecting us all in the state of Texas, ”O’Rourke said.

But Abbott has repeatedly assured that enough has been done before all the bad weather this winter.

Last month, Abbott explained that a list of laws he signed will make the network more efficient. The governor said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which runs the vast majority of electricity in Texas, strives to be proactive rather than reactive. Additionally, Abbott said he encountered natural pipeline emitters who said they were wintering.

“I can guarantee the lights will stay on,” Abbott said.

But O’Rourke is not convinced.

ERCOT itself estimated in November that the network is still vulnerable to bad weather. The board says that while electricity demands are expected to be lower than February demands, certain conditions could potentially pose problems.

“So it’s a reminder to us every time we pay that electric or gas bill: that we also pay the Abbott tax. It is the cost and the consequence of the failure of man to the highest level of public trust in the state, ”concludes O’Rourke.