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AE to explain CAP issues to commission

Thursday, December 18, 2014 by Tyler Whitson

Austin Energy staff will brief the Electric Utility Commission at its Jan. 26 meeting about the automated screening process that is allegedly giving wealthy residents utility discounts intended for low-income residents. Austin Energy local government relations division director Jeff Vice said that there were no staff members prepared to comment at Monday’s EUC meeting. “I did want to assure you, though, that we’re aware of this issue,” he said. Activist Paul Robbins told the Monitor on Wednesday that he cross-checked property appraisal records and found, based on preliminary results, that more than 1,100 of 19,000 Customer Assistance Program participants studied resided in homes valued at more than $300,000. Robbins said Monday that customers are automatically enrolled in the program if they live at the same address as someone who is enrolled in one of seven other financial assistance programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “Foster children are automatically enrolled in CHIP, but, as you know, not every person that takes in a foster child is poor,” Robbins said. “I’m really here to urge Austin Energy to come up with a plan next month to give to the new City Council to change this so that the money is going to the people that need it.”

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