By staying out of deregulation, Longview residents save an average of 45 percent on their electricity bills, according to state Sen. Kevin Eltife. Speaking recently to Jimmy Isaac of the Longview News-Journal, the Tyler Republican said: “The consumers in East Texas are vitally interested in keeping costs down especially in these economic times – We believe the path toward deregulation runs contrary to that interest.”

In that spirit, Sen. Eltife has drafted Senate Bill 547 that would keep deregulation from coming to Longview and other areas served by AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company unless certain benchmarks are first met. Eltife’s office said the legislation would help protect ratepayers from dramatic price increases that can result from deregulation. Eltife told the newspaper that he has sufficient support in the Senate to win passage in that chamber but that he’s still working on getting House support.

— R.A. Dyer