Originally created in 1999 as part of Texas’ electric utility deregulation, the System Benefit Fund is a dedicated fund administered by the Public Utility Commission to help low-income Texans with their electricity bills through discounts between 10-20 percent, assist in weatherization programs, and provide educational outreach for the deregulated marketplace. The SBF is financed through a maximum charge of 65¢ per megawatt hour of electricity, or about $9.75 annually for a typical Texas residential electric customer, and generates nearly $140 million per year.
Since 2003, much of the fund balance in the SBF has been diverted and used to balance other areas of the state budget, rather than aiding Texas families. Every legislative session since these diversions have started, Representative Turner has sternly advocated for full appropriations of the funds for their intended purposes of providing electricity bill discounts to low-income families. During the 2009 session Representative Turner authored a bill to convert the System Benefit Fund to a trust account, thereby prohibiting the use of funds in the account for any purpose other than utility assistance and weatherization. Though the bill did not pass, it is his intent to re-file the bill during the 2011 session and continue to fight to ensure that the revenue generated from your electricity payment intended for low-income persons are used for that purpose or eliminate the surcharge completely.
To see if you qualify and to sign up for the LITE-UP Texas Program, click on the following link, or call 1-888-782-8477. http://www.puc.state.tx.us/ocp/assist/liteup/index.cfm