House Bill to increase utility competition in East Texas and possibly lower rates

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House Bill 4749 has been signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott’s to create a new entity managing utilities in Smith County. 

After several years of complaints from residents as well as a few lawsuits, city and state officials have finally developed a plan to potentially lower costs. 

Liberty Utilities is the only business customers can use in certain areas of South Tyler, Bullard and Flint due to infrastructure. 

The new entity would oversee the introduction of a new company in the area to create competition and reduce prices.

“That large area down there needs wastewater and sewer services,”Smith County Judge Moran said. “By providing this mud district we can increase growth, we can increase opportunities for development down there, and as I mentioned we can increase competition and hopefully bring those prices down.”

Residents are citing rate increases on their sewer and water treatment bills that range from 20 to over 100 percent. 

But the bill is not welcomed by all. 

In a statement, Matthew Garlick, Liberty Utilitiespresident says, “Liberty Utilities is disappointed that House Bill 4749 was signed into law. The bill sets a dangerous precedent, discourages critical investments in utility infrastructure and puts state-regulated utilities at risk. It will have a decidedly negative impact on the Texas business climate.” 

Judge Moran is encouraging residents to have patientsbecause it will take a few years before anything takes place of residents will see their bill affected. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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