FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2007
AUSTIN, TX -- "I am pleased that the Public Utility Commission (PUC) staff has acted expediently to formalize the alleged violations of market power abuse by TXU Corp.
Commission staff recommended a $210 million fine, of which $70 million would be reimbursed to consumers and $140 million would be assessed for administrative penalties. It is important that TXU customers be compensated for their overpayments and that refunds go directly to them.
The PUC is in the initial step of making a final determination on the independent report. The PUC staff recommendations must still go through the hearing process and be approved by the three PUC Commissioners before final penalties can be assessed.
On March 12, an independent report concluded that TXU, one of the largest generators of electricity in Texas, manipulated the wholesale electric market, causing at least $70 million in higher electricity prices across the state in 2005. That same week, the Senate approved a package of electric utility bills to improve competition in the retail electric market, discourage market and price manipulation, and bring rate relief to Texas households.
Sen. Lucio amended one of the electric utility bills to strengthen language that would require refunds to be passed to consumers or to an organization that offers emergency payment assistance. The amendment also included language that would require PUC to make a final determination within 30 days after the Independent Market Monitor issued a report on market power abuses or violations, and that the report be referred to the Attorney General's office for further investigation and prosecution.
This legislation that passed the Senate in mid-March will likely come before the House next week.
I feel confident that we are headed in the right direction towards fairness and equity for the consumer."
Note: Senior Policy Analyst Perla Cavazos handles this issue for the Senator (512-463-0127).