Houston Forward Times

04 June 2014 Written by  Forward Times Staff

Representative Sylvester Turner Urges Low-Income Texans To Enroll in

State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) today urged qualified low-income Texans to enroll in LITE-UP Texas, a program authorized by the Texas Legislature through which participants can reduce the monthly cost of their electric service by 82%.

"I want to ensure that everyone who is eligible for this discount, particularly senior citizens, is aware of it and can receive it," said Turner. "For example, a customer who receives a bill for $100.00 in May, June, July or August will only have to pay $18.00 based on the 82% discount. This is significant and could literally mean the difference between whether these families can put food on the tables during the hottest months of the year.

"Please call the PUC today to enroll so you can get your discount as soon as possible."

The LITE-UP Texas program is designed to help qualified low-income individuals who live in areas where they can choose their own electricity provider to reduce their monthly cost of electric service. Customers qualify if they currently receive Texas Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Customers can also self-enroll if their household income is at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline, which equates to a family of four having an income of $29,000.

During the last legislative session, Rep. Turner led the effort to win approval from the 83rd Texas Legislature to make profound changes to the LITE-UP Texas program, increasing the discount from 10% to 82%. For example, a provider of last resort rate of 14 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) would be discounted by 11.48 cents per kWh. The discount will be effective May through August 2014 and will appear on customers’ bills for the month following their meter readings for those months. The program will permanently end on September 1, 2016.

Turner said that 85% of Texans who qualify for the program are enrolled automatically, but many qualified families are missed.

"It is important to get all eligible people enrolled into the program so that they can receive the benefits," Turner said. "The legislature approved this increased discount because we understand how desperately our most vulnerable Texans need this help. I don’t want to see anyone who qualifies overlooked."

Individuals not currently participating in the LITE-UP Texas program can obtain a self-enrollment application by contacting the PUC toll-free at 1-800-454-8387 or visiting the PUC’s website, http://www.puc.texas.gov/consumer/lowincome/assistance.aspx.