A point-of-order by Fourth District State Rep. Lance Gooden forced a bill that would allow investor-owned utility companies to increase rates without a hearing back into committee.
Austin Talbert, Communications Officer for Gooden’s office, said the move derailed House Bill 2400, protecting home owners throughout Henderson County.
Gooden successfully raised the point-of-order during debate over the bill on the House floor, which forces the bill back to committee before further consideration.
“House Bill 2400 is a bad bill for customers of investor-owned utilities. It gives these companies, like Monarch, the legal ground to raise their rates without their customers having a voice in the discussion, much less a hearing,” Gooden said.
If passed, HB 2400 would allow investor-owned utility companies, many of which provide water and sewage service to customers throughout Henderson County, to increase their rates without a hearing or participation from their customers—which is currently required by law.
According to Gooden’s office, the bill would also allow the utility companies to increase their rates for both water and sewer service by 10 percent per year.
Additionally it would establish the legal grounds for the consolidation of water systems, currently with different rates, into one system where the utility would be able to charge a higher “regional rate” for all customers.
“Many of my constituents from all over Henderson County came to me with concerns about this bill,” he said. “I thank them for their continuous hard work on this issue, and for bringing to my attention this horrible piece of legislation that provides private utilities the legal basis to abuse their customers with unfair practices. As State Representatives, we should be working to protect customers, not establishing laws that help corporations abuse our constituents.”