Some East Texans are growing tired of expensive residential and commercial electricity rates. "It's not a good feeling because it's too high. People with one income -- it's hard for them to pay a real high light bill," says Barbara Laxton.
"Oh, God! I mean, that's the first thing that goes through my mind when I open my mailbox and I see TXU. I think, 'oh, God!', because I know I feel sorry for people who don't have two incomes in their house. The elder[ly] people who depend on monthly [Social Security] checks -- they can't pay those kind of bills," says Melody Havard.
Havard pays close attention to electricity price rates. "I mean, you're always worried about the rate hike, and every time you turn around, they've gotta go up for this or that. You know, you never know from one day to the next what excuse they've got to make the bill go up," she says.
Higher rates are adding up for TXU. The energy provider reported profits of one billion dollars for the third quarter.
Though TXU reported record profits for the quarter, they are still making job cuts right here in East Texas because of new meters which will no longer require meter readers. Now, some state lawmakers in Austin are questioning the energy giant, trying to make sense of the controversy. TXU's CEO, John Wilder, maintains that "TXU makes a fair profit and does not abuse customers."
"I would love to see the lights [electric rates] go down, but ain't likely gonna happen," Barbara Laxton concluded.
"I'd like to see it regulated. I mean, I'd like to see the government -- local, state, or federal government -- step up and say, 'Hey, you know, there's a reason you're doing this to us, and it ain't because we need it. It's because you need us to make you more money,'" says Havard.