Senate Advances Electricity Refund Proposal

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State lawmakers are advancing a plan that would return money generated from an electricity surcharge back to ratepayers.

In a 21-10 vote on Monday, the Texas Senate approved a bill intended to give customers in certain areas a one-time payment of $120.

The proposal would provide some of the only tax relief advocated this year by Gov. Rick Perry. But it would come at the expense of poor Texans.

The bill would draw down the System Benefit Fund established in 1999. The fund charges a maximum of 65 cents per kilowatt hour to retail customers in deregulated parts of the state.

Under current law, the Public Utility Commission uses the money to provide discounts for low-income households through the Lite-Up program. It has also been used to balance the budget.