Today, a bipartisan group of state legislators joined Texas Energy Future Holdings Limited Partnership (TEF) and TXU Energy in announcing a substantial investment in programs providing assistance to low-income customers. Upon successful completion of the merger agreement, TEF will enhance TXU Energy's programs to assist eligible low-income customers by creating TXU Energy Access, a comprehensive relief program. TEF is the holding company formed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and other investors to acquire TXU Corp. TXU Energy is a subsidiary of TXU Corp. (NYSE: TXU).
"Since our merger agreement was announced on February 26, TEF has consistently taken a new and different approach to addressing the energy needs of Texans. We are committed to working with our low-income customers to meet their needs by partnering with TXU Energy to create TXU Energy Access and commit to providing more than $30 million per year over the next five years," said Michael MacDougall of Texas Pacific Group.
"Our new TXU Energy Access program will offer even more savings to those in need of assistance. Through a combination of lower prices and more efficient energy usage, as well as bill payment assistance in times of unexpected hardship, we will further distinguish our commitment to customers in the Texas market," said Jim Burke, Chief Executive Officer of TXU Energy.
"I applaud TXU Energy Access as a demonstration of the private sector's responsiveness to customer needs," said Representative Frank Corte, Chairman of the House Republican Caucus.
"Access to electricity is a necessity for every Texas family. TXU Energy Access represents a major commitment to help our neighbors who face the greatest challenges paying their electric bills," said Representative Jim Dunnam, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
TEF and TXU Energy will provide an unparalleled commitment of more than $30 million per year to providing relief for low-income residents. In 2006, the company provided $19 million in assistance to low-income customers.
In addition to the $150 million commitment, the TXU Energy Access program will include new demand side management initiatives in conservation, energy efficiency and weatherization.
Karen R. Johnson, President and CEO of the United Ways of Texas, applauded the announcement, saying, "This commitment signals the willingness of KKR, TPG and TXU Energy to further their leadership role in the community by expanding available assistance for those who struggle to make ends meet or respond to a family crisis. All Texas communities can benefit from such examples of corporate citizenship."
The new TXU will also form a new Low Income Advisory Committee comprised of leaders in the social service delivery sector to work with TXU Energy and the TXU Corp. Sustainable Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) to identify the best and most effective ways to spend funding designated for low-income aid and to explore the creation of a foundation to assist in these efforts.
The TXU Energy Access program includes the following:
10 Percent Discount for Low-Income Customers
When the System Benefit Fund (SBF), the state directed program for low-income assistance on energy bills, was no longer available to assist low-income residents last year, TXU Energy was the only company that voluntarily filled the SBF void with a 10 percent discount for participating low-income customers. As of March 2007, almost 91,000 TXU Energy customers were enrolled in the company-funded discount program. The Low Income Advisory Committee will work with TXU Energy and the SEAB to expand the number of recipients qualified for the 10 percent discount.
TEF and TXU Energy will commit $25 million per year to provide the 10 percent discount to an even larger number of qualified low-income customers. Furthermore, if the Legislature restores the 10 percent discount funded by the SBF, the company will maintain its 10 percent low-income discount so that a customer could receive up to a 20 percent discount.
This low-income discount is in addition to the 10 percent price cuts that most TXU Energy customers will receive - as noted in the February 26 announcement - if the merger of TXU and TEF closes. As a result of these discounts, eligible low-income customers enrolled or planning to enroll in the existing 10 percent discount program could ultimately save as much as 30 percent on their electric bills compared to prices at the beginning of 2006. This program would be available to low-income TXU Energy customers in all the competitive areas across Texas, including the major markets of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, South Texas and Abilene.
$5 Million Annual Commitment to TXU Energy Aid Program
Working with more than 400 social service agency partners in competitive market areas, TXU Energy currently administers and helps fund the TXU Energy Aid program, which helps to benefit low-income customers, senior citizens and certain customers classified as "in need" or in "emergency status." As part of TXU Energy Access, TXU Energy will also fund $5 million per year for TXU Energy Aid, in addition to any funds received from customers and employees for this important program.
Demand Side Management Investments
Additionally, upon closing of the merger, a substantial portion of the previously announced commitment to conservation, weatherization and other energy-efficiency initiatives will be dedicated to helping lower the overall usage of low-income customers. These investments will ensure that low-income customers, as well as other TXU Energy customers, receive the benefits of the commitment TEF has made to increase overall demand-side management investments.
Texas Energy Future Holdings Limited Partnership is the holding company formed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Texas Pacific Group and other investors to acquire TXU Corp. For more information, visit www.TexasEnergyFuture.com.
TXU Corp., a Dallas-based energy company, manages a portfolio of competitive and regulated energy businesses primarily in Texas. In the competitive TXU Energy Holdings segment (electricity generation, wholesale marketing and retailing), TXU Energy provides electricity and related services to more than 2.1 million competitive electricity customers in Texas. TXU Power has over 18,100 MW of generation in Texas, including 2,300 MW of nuclear and 5,800 MW of coal-fueled generation capacity. TXU Wholesale optimizes the purchases and sales of energy for TXU Energy and TXU Power and provides related services to other market participants. TXU Wholesale is the largest purchaser of wind-generated electricity in Texas and fifth largest in the United States. Power generation and related businesses, such as TXU Power and TXU Wholesale, plan to transition toward the new Luminant Energy brand. Visit http://www.txucorp.com/ for more information about TXU Corp.
Jeff Eller (TEF)