McComb referred to a section of the Attorney General’s Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – It has been a few weeks since the Texas winter storm and many are now being hit hard by their utility companies, resulting in massive utility bills – some up to $ 5,000.
Former Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb reiterates the frustration of many consumers, accusing these electricity suppliers of discounting prices, which is of course illegal.
“The fraudulent trading practice and the scooping law must apply,” said McComb.
McComb met with 3News on Thursday and summed up his thoughts behind a letter he sent to Governor Greg Abbott regarding the high utility bills received by some Texan consumers. He wrote in part, “I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the information provided on the Texas Attorney General’s website is very clear and would solve the problem.”
“If they make a declaration of emergency, and that is both presidential and gubernatorial, that law goes into effect,” said McComb. “What that means, it freezes – excuse my pun – or sets prices before explaining.”
McComb is referring to a section of the Attorney General’s Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. It states: “It is a false, misleading or misleading act or practice to take advantage of a disaster declared by the governor or the president.” The section also refers to “selling or leasing fuel, food or medicine, housing it at an exorbitant or inflated price … or asking for some other necessity”.
“These people have to reimburse all the customers they have debited to their bank accounts from their debit accounts on their credit cards,” said McComb. “And if you want to bill you, the rate should be billed before freezing.”
The former mayor’s efforts are being heeded by other local elected officials.
“I think it’s a legal issue that Mayor McComb is addressing,” said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. “It’s interesting whether or not electricity would go up on the occasion, but Mayor McComb made a good legal argument and I think it should be investigated.”
“Much of the focus on the price cut and the interest rate problem needs to be on the companies that are doing this terrible, terrible rate hike, and I raised the issue today,” said State Representative Todd Hunter. “I asked for a meeting and asked for all of this information and we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”
While this is a legal matter that could ultimately land in court, 3News reached out to our legal expert Dr. Bill Chriss.
“It’s not that easy,” said Chriss. “Joe McComb shows the frustration that many Texans have.”
Chriss explained that typical price drops are often like buying a bag of ice cream for a dollar and then turning around and selling it for $ 100 in a crisis.
“What is wrong with these utilities, what they will say in court, and what some are already saying, is that we have a contract with our customer where we have agreed to bill that customer the same amount as the wholesale price that we get from the utility we get it from, or ten cents more or a dollar or whatever. And so we don’t make any money raising prices. “
Chriss said at the end, before all is said and done, the question of who will ultimately pay for the 2021 freeze will land in court.
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