From Enterprise Staff
Having obtained the required number of signatures on a petition, “Citizens of Livingston for Fair and Equitable Rates Inc.” filed its case with the Public Utility Commission of Texas Tuesday.
Spearheaded by Joshua Grant, “Citizens of Livingston for Fair and Equitable Rates Inc.” is a coalition of local residents and business owners who are seeking a remedy for “the ongoing lack of transparency from our city officials and the outrageous electric rates assessed on City of Livingston electric customers.
“Our aim is to see the city succeed by ensuring rates are beneficial for both the customers and the city. As citizens of the City of Livingston, we want to see our city be a success. A municipality’s utility should be able to make a profit and use those profits for the city’s operational needs. What we will no longer tolerate is a city that knowingly overcharges its rate payers, hides behind its lack of transparency, and justifies its actions by referring to its lack of an ad valorem tax,” Grant said.
The city’s electric rates were set during the Sept. 12 meeting of the Livingston City Council for its fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Once the rates were set, local citizens had 30 days to gather signatures on a petition of at least 10% of eligible voters within the city limits and file their petition with the commission.
After filing a petition with the commission, the city will be given a chance to verify the signatures on the petition as true and accurate. Once this verification is complete, the commission will order the city to file its proposed rates, and this will begin the rate review. Like other legal proceedings, there will be an opportunity for any interested party to intervene in the case. There will be several phases to the case, including a discovery phase during which any party may ask questions of or request documents from the city concerning their rates and costs. The next phase will be a testimony phase in which the city will submit written testimony about their rates. Thereafter, other parties will be given an opportunity for rebuttal to the city’s testimony. And finally, should no agreement be reached before this stage, the case will be scheduled for a hearing in front of the commission for which the commissioners will issue a final order on what the city is to do.