FRASER ANNOUNCES ELECTRICITY LEGISLATION
Austin -- Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) announced the filing of a comprehensive package of electricity legislation on Wednesday. The legislation is intended to ensure the competitive electric market is working, help lower rates and encourage consumer choice of retail providers.
"Since 1999 Texas has been held up as the national model for implementing electric deregulation," Fraser said. "We have experienced success throughout the commercial and industrial market, but that success has not translated to the residential side. The legislation filed today will strengthen competitive forces and improve the residential electric market."
The multi-bill package includes a measure to prohibit a utility from exercising market power in a region, as well as a provision which gives the Public Utility Commission (PUC) the ability to make adjustments to assure that residential rates are reasonable. Issues also addressed include the System Benefit Fund and the development of generation that is reliable, economically viable, and environmentally friendly.
"Over the last two years we have been monitoring the status of the Texas electric market and have become concerned at the level of competition available to residential consumers," he said. "Our goal is to expand competition in the marketplace by providing choices and lower prices for consumers."
The legislative package also provides that the PUC can issue a ballot to help consumers choose a more competitive offer; requires that a company refund ratepayers any money received as a result of market power abuses; and requires the System Benefit Fund to be used for its original purposes -- low-income customer assistance and consumer education.
"It is important to explore new innovative generation as one step in stabilizing our electric market," Fraser said. The legislation gives the state the ability to pursue policies which will encourage the use of cleaner technologies to be used in electric generation throughout the state.
Fraser, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, has been actively engaged in seeking solutions to the rising cost of residential electricity. Senator Fraser held a hearing in November of 2006 where he questioned the CEOs from the three largest electric providers in the state about the status of competition in the residential marketplace.
ATTACHMENT: Electric Bill Package Summary (PDF format)