There's a great injustice unfolding in West Texas. Last week KCBD aired a story about Atmos energy rates going up.
Back in June, the Lubbock City Council unanimously voted to reject the increase. But last week, we learned the Texas Railroad Commission approved an increase that will give Atmos millions in additional revenue. That increase was effective October 1.
But this should be no surprise. The Railroad Commission is famous for rubber stamping these increases across the state. Atmos donates to the campaigns of the elected members that have the ultimate power, effectively making any city's fight against increases worthless.
And it effects everyone in town because Atmos is a monopoly. We don't get a choice.
The Texas legislature should take a long hard look at the Railroad Commission, which has nothing to do with railroads, and start over.
It's become clear the Commission is bought and paid for with political donations, wining and dining.
Local gas companies need to be regulated locally. Disband the Railroad Commission, let cities deal with their public utilities and go from there.
We all know how some politicians are influenced by campaign donations. But in this case, it is elected officials influenced by a gas company that's campaigning to raise your gas bill. It's wrong.
It's time the tail stop wagging the dog and companies like Atmos become accountable to their customers.
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'Consider This' is a commentary by KCBD Vice-President and General Manager Dan Jackson.
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