Watchdogs say the policies discourage energy conservation at a time when environmental groups, all levels of government and even electric companies themselves are aggressively encouraging customers to scale back on energy consumption.

“These fees often go unnoticed until you really cut back and you realize you still have a larger bill than you expected,” said Jake Dyer, a policy analyst at the non-profit Texas Coalition for Affordable Power. “It’s bad news for a lot of folks doing their best to save power and save on their electric bill.”

Keep reading at Houston Chronicle.