FRASER PASSES ELECTRICITY BILLS OUT OF SENATE
AUSTIN -- State Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) passed his comprehensive electricity bills out of Texas Senate on Thursday.
"These bills will ensure the competitive electric market is working throughout the state, help lower rates, and encourage consumer choice of retail electric providers," Fraser said. "Consumers of this state deserve to be treated fairly and these bills make small changes to deregulation to make that certain."
Senate Bill 482 improves competition in the residential electricity market by creating customer education initiatives and provides penalty's for providers that do not compete outside their territory. Senate Bill 483 removes a company's ability to abuse the market by reducing market power in the wholesale market. It also requires the refund of any revenues received as a result of market power abuses. Senate Bill 896 clarifies that the state's best electricity minds--the Public Utility Commission--has the ability to review any sale, transaction, or change of ownership of public utilities to ensure that it is in the public interest.
"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."
Senate Bill 483 also allows that the use of IGCC, or other clean coal technologies, will not count toward a providers total market share. "It is important to explore new innovative generation as one step in stabilizing our electric market," Fraser said.
Additional amendments accepted on the floor include a provision which restricts when providers can and can not disconnect customers during extreme weather conditions. It also provides deferred payment plans for customers to help pay their bills.
"These bills are important not only to Texas ratepayers, but to the reliability and stability of our electric market throughout the state," Fraser said.
The bills were overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and now move to the House of Representatives.