Texas Senate Approves Cap Rock Energy Legislation
AUSTIN -- The Texas Senate today approved legislation authored by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, that would make Midland-based Cap Rock Energy Corp. an investor-owned utility subject to rate regulation by the Texas Public Utility Commission.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1280, was approved unanimously and now goes to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration.
"This bill remedies the unintended consequences of an amendment to the electric deregulation bill that was supposed to help Cap Rock compete long-term against investor-owned utilities," Fraser said. "Cap Rock customers in West Texas and parts of my district need relief from high rates and this bill is intended to provide that."
The measure grants the PUC broad authority to establish schedules and procedures "as it deems necessary" to determine the time frame and conditions under which Cap Rock Energy would be subject to competition for electric customers, Fraser said.
The bill repeals an amendment that was added to the electric deregulation bill in 1999. It moves Cap Rock out of "regulatory no-man's land" and puts it under the authority of the PUC as an investor-owned utility, Fraser said.
Under the bill, the PUC is required to take numerous factors into consideration to determine when market competition applies to Cap Rock, including the effect that customer choice would have on reliability of service to its customers.
Cap Rock Energy, based in Midland, formerly operated as a not-for-profit electric cooperative. In 1998, members of Cap Rock Electric Cooperative approved a business conversion plan to become a publicly traded company.
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