Updated August 2010
Austin Energy: Consumer Protection for Medically Vulnerable Customers
Success! After months of collaboration with other consumer groups, the National MS Society: Texas is thrilled to announce that on the Austin City Council voted to pass new customer protections in May 2010. The weather disconnection rules have been revised to better protect customers during extremely hot weather. In addition, new customer service procedures will be put in place for medically vulnerable customers (including those living with MS).
As highlighted on the City’s website, the council “approved an ordinance giving utility customers with life support equipment and medically vulnerable conditions additional time and assistance to bring an overdue account back into good standing -- before utility services would be disconnected. The purpose of this ordinance is to protect those customers who rely on their electricity [to maintain their health] by providing special payment plan arrangements and one-on-one communications.”
We’re excited about these new protections for Austin residents, and hope that similar models can be used in other municipally-owned utilities around Texas.
Dallas / Ft. Worth Town Hall Meetings on Electric Utilities
In July 2010, the National MS Society: Texas hosted two town hall meetings in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area in partnership with AARP and Cities Aggregation Power Project. These meetings gave individuals an opportunity to learn about electric utilities, available consumer protections, electricity assistance programs, and other resources. Over 150 participants attended the workshops and many wrote a letter to their state representatives asking for improved protections for consumers. Thank you to the MS activists and members who attended!