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September 29, 1998     (512) 463-0300

ELECTRIC UTILITY RESTRUCTURING COMMITTEE MEETS IN COLLEGE STATION

COLLEGE STATION - The Senate Interim Committee on Electric Utility Restructuring held its final out of town public hearing on Tuesday, September 29, in the Presidential Conference Center at the George Bush Library on the Texas A&M campus at College Station. Members of the committee include Senators David Sibley of Waco, serving as chair, Ken Armbrister of Victoria, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, David Cain of Dallas, Troy Fraser of Burnet County, and Jane Nelson of Flower Mound. Area Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan joined the committee for the proceedings.

The hearing began with uncompleted business from the previous hearing relating to stranded costs. Former Texas Governor Mark White began testimony representing the Alliance for Consumer Choice of Energy Supply (ACCES). White formed the Public Utility Commission (PUC) during his tenure as governor. Others testifying on the issue of stranded costs included Bob Bolen representing Texas Utilities, Mike Williams representing Texas Electric Cooperatives, Bob Bryant representing Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, and Tom Smith, Director of Public Citizen.

The committee heard invited testimony from three panels; governmental units, system reliability and property tax issues. The governmental units group included Tobin Harvey of the General Services Commission, Tom Merka of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Charles A. Sippial of Texas A&M University, Ed White of the Texas Youth Commission, and Ray Werth representing the Brenham Independent School District. The system reliability group included Sam Jones of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Judy Walsh of the Public Utility Commission, Dan Wilkerson of Bryan Utilities, and Tom Baker of Texas Utilities. The property tax issues panel included Dennis Degear of the Capitol Appraisal Group, B. Tab Weaver of Delotte & Touche Property Tax Services, and Marc Moseley of Texas Utilities.

Public testimony included Phillip Johnson, assistant professor of Applied Economics at Texas Tech University; Kathleen Magruder, Vice President of Governmental Affairs of Enron/Houston; Stephanie Kroger representing the Texas Coalition for Competitive Electricity; and Tom Smith, director of Public Citizen

The committee will submit its final report, including any recommendations for legislative action, to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of 1999.

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