Legislature Passes Summer Electric Bill Relief For Burned Veterans

May 23, 2013

Veterans who have burn injuries can now ask their utility companies for discounts, no matter where in Texas they reside now that the Burned Veterans Bill has passed in the Legislature.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte sought to expand the benefits of a bill passed in the last session to the statewide population of burned veterans.

The bill allows investor-owned utilities, municipal co-ops and retail electric providers to establish discount programs similar to the one that has proven so successful in San Antonio the last couple of years.

Van de Putte said most of the utilities around the state, including rural co-ops, are in support of the discount:

"The investor-owned utilities, those that are privately-owned companies in the de-regulated areas of the state like Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, are all in support of it. Austin Energy, Brownsville, Garland, Corpus Christi - so many of them are municipally-owned utilities like CPS [Energy] and they are all on board," Van de Putte said.

San Antonio has the highest concentration of burned veterans because all such veterans are treated at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, but Van de Putte said other qualifying veterans live in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, or rural areas and those vets need the benefits as well.

"It's really important because those warriors who have been severely burned do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature because they really don't have any sweat glands in their skin," she said.

Van de Putte said there may be just a handful of veterans who the bill will impact, but it is a way to recognize their sacrifice to the country and their communities.