March 18, 2021 (Houston, TX) – Commercial real estate firm Hartman Income REIT Management, Inc. (Hartman) has announced it is supporting a petition launched by the group Texans Against Abusive Energy Pricing to correct egregious energy charges in Texas.
Following winter storm Uri, more than 4 million people in Texas lost power between February 13 – 19th. Households are now facing utility bills as high as $17,000 and businesses, organizations, and property landlords are seeing bills more than 90 times their norm.
Testimony from the Chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) made it clear that only a bill passed by the Texas legislature and signed by Gov. Abbott would compel the PUCT to correct the egregious energy overbilling.
The petition https://www.change.org/TexansAgainstAbusiveEnergyPricing asks Governor Abbott, LT. Governor Patrick, the Texas Legislature, Attorney General Paxton, and the PUCT to:
1. Reverse excessive energy charges to an appropriate level.
2. Recognize the impact of price gouging on businesses and consumers.
3. Immediately freeze all pending energy and natural gas transactions, terminations, and penalties from the week imposed with high-rate caps to allow a proper investigation into the overbilling.
“ERCOT and the PUCT must take responsibility for their failure.” Said Al Hartman, President & Chief Executive Officer. “We are supporting this petition as a company and on behalf of our tenants. As their landlord, it is our position that our tenants cannot bear the brunt of this price gouging, especially as they are just now recovering from the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.”
Petition supporters have expressed frustrations as some businesses had no choice but to sign index or variable rate contracts. Never in Texas history has the PUCT imposed such inflated rates. This situation is compounding the damage to Texans following an economic downturn.
Looking ahead, if the disastrous effects of the egregious pricing are not addressed, Texans can expect to see some businesses filing for bankruptcy, closing their doors, laying off employees, and/or passing on the greater operating expenses onto their customers.