Texas Investment in Consumer Agencies Pays off Big
Texas consumer agencies have saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars per year according to a report released by Public Citizen. Click here to see a copy of the full report.
An effort to ax the budget's of the Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) and Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) would not address the state’s $27 billion deficit, Without these two agencies, consumers can expect to see an increase in rates for insurance, energy, phones and other telecommunications, which is essentially a tax, according to the report. The report calls for having continued strong, independent consumer watchdog, including expanding consumer protections at other agencies such as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Railroad Commission.
These valuable agencies, outperform many other agencies in the greatest ‘bang for the buck,’ category and would save the state only a few million dollars.
OPUC alone has saved Texas consumers more than $1 billion in the last five years, the report found. Its intervention in electrical rate cases has brought costs down by hundreds of millions of dollars every year for consumer cases it represented. Its budget, set at $1.5 million for the next two fiscal years, is negligible compared to the savings it brings consumers – an average of $133 for every dollar in its budget, the report said.
And OPIC – which reviews insurance filings and ferrets out policies and forms that are illegal, unfair, deceptive or unclear – functions on a budget of just $1 million a year and it saved consumers more than $300 million on their insurance, or $165 for every dollar spent, the report found.
Texas consumer agencies should not be defunded or cut by lawmakers because they have saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars per year and axing their budgets would not address the state’s $27 billion deficit, according to a report released today by Public Citizen.