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November 2, 2001     (512) 463-0300

Electric Deregulation Committee Monitors Market and Examines Security

The Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Oversight Committee found itself concerned not only with the market, but security matters as well at its meeting today, November 2, 2001. After being called to order, Co-chairman David Sibley recessed the group to a private meeting concerning security matters at electric power plants. The Government Code provides for closed meetings when matters of security are discussed.

Testimony in the closed part of the meeting was to be given by Rebecca Klein of the Public Utility Commission, Sam Jones of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Joe Beal of the Lower Colorado River Authority, William T. Cottle of the South Texas Nuclear Project Operating Company, Charles Patton of American Electric Power, John Houston, Stephen Schaeffer and James Sheppard of Reliant Energy and Curtis Seidlits, Mike Green, Mike McCall and Lance Terry of Texas Utilities.

After reconvening in public session, Co-chairman Sibley said the Legislature had promised lower rates and better service in a deregulated marketplace and that it was essential that the state move forward. "Competition is going to happen, and it's going to happen January 1, 2002."

During the public meeting, Tom Noel of ERCOT said that there was no need to continue the pilot project. He agreed that deregulation should take place on schedule. Bill Bojorquez and Sam Jones of ERCOT, as well as Max Yzaguirre, Chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission also testified regarding the success of the pilot project, which is testing the deregulated electricity market. Committee members had tough questions about whether the system for selling electricity from different companies to consumers would really work come January 1. The ERCOT representatives said that while some issues will remain, the system will work. Other issues include making sure that electricity is properly distributed to where it is needed on the state's grid.

The Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Oversight Committee is Co-chaired by Senator David Sibley and Representative Steven Wolens. Members include Senators Teel Bivins, Frank Madla, Jane Nelson and John Whitmire as well as Representatives Kim Brimer, David Counts, Debra Danburg and Sylvester Turner.

The Committee recessed subject to call of the chair.

You can access the archived video webcasts from the web page of the Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Oversight Committee

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