Electric Utility Restructuring Committee Reviews System Benefits
AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Electric Utility Restructuring met in a public hearing Wednesday, February 4, to discuss system benefits, customer protection issues, and environmental and renewable energy issues. The committee is responsible for ensuring the necessary safeguards for customer protection and looking into environmental issues relating to a competitive market. The committee will also focus on the development of renewable energy resources such as wind power in a competitive marketplace.
The committee members include Senators David Sibley of Waco as chair, Ken Armbrister of Victoria, David Cain of Dallas, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, and Jane Nelson of Flower Mound.
The hearing consisted of invited testimony from two panels of witnesses. The first panel concentrated on customer protection issues and included testimony from representatives of the Office of Public Utility Counsel, the Association of Electric Companies in Texas, the Enron Corporation, Consumers Union, and the Texas Coalition for Competitive Electricity. Barbara Alexander, a consumer affair consultant, also provided testimony on these important issues.
Focusing on environmental and renewable energy issues, the second panel contained representatives from several other systems and agencies. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Center for Energy and Economic Development, the Public Citizen's Texas Office, and the State Energy Conservation Office were all represented and provided valuable testimony. Public testimony followed the panel testimony.
The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the the 76th Legislature when it convenes in January of next year.