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February 26, 2007 (512) 463-0300

FRASER, DEWHURST COMMENT ON TXU SALE

(AUSTIN) -- Following the potential $45 billion sale of the top electric producer in state, one key lawmaker says he is concerned about transparency and competition issues as TXU moves from a public to a privately owned enterprise. Senator Troy Fraser, who chairs the Senate Business and Commerce committee, said today that he is worried that the state of electric deregulation in the residential market could be impacted by this sale.

Fraser has filed a bill that prohibits a company from owning more than 20 percent of the power generation capacity in a market area, and he said that TXU owns more than 50 percent of the generation capacity in North Texas. Also, he is skeptical about the ten percent residential rate reduction the new TXU owners predict, and is worried about the loss of transparency and oversight the state would have over TXU once it becomes privately owned. "We are looking at it, and it will be something that I will spend a lot of time in my committee looking at," said Fraser.

PHOTO
Senator Rodney Ellis (left) congratulates Anthony Robinson, who has gone on to become an attorney after spending 9 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said his initial reaction to the deal is positive. "You're talking about an investor group that came in, sat down, has been sensitive with environmental issues, you're talking about a ten percent, hopefully more, reduction in retail rates, and increased interest in working with the state on technology and other provisions which will provide for reliable electricity at less environmental damage," he said. Dewhurst added, however, he thinks the state will have to wait and see to discover all the particulars in this complex deal. Some Senators, he said, have expressed concern about transparency, market share and environmental policies under the new owners.

Also today, the Senate honored a man who overcame wrongful conviction and imprisonment to become a successful international attorney. Anthony Robinson was convicted in Houston in 1987 of a crime he didn't commit, and spent 9 years in prison. Following his parole in 1996, Robinson worked three years to save up enough money to pay for an independent DNA test that proved he was innocent, which eventually led to him being pardoned of all crimes by then-Governor George W. Bush. Robinson went on to graduate from law school, and will soon move to China to work in international trade law. Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston, who sponsored the resolution honoring Robinson, said he is proud of this Texan who has succeeded in spite of adversity. "This young man is a sterling example of what someone can do with tenacity," said Ellis.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, February 27, at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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