TXOGA bucks electric rate hikes

AUSTIN House State Affairs Committee Chairman Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and the Texas Oil & Gas Association are trying to block the Public Utilities Commission of Texas’s bid to let electric companies raise rates willy nilly.

Speaking Wednesday in support of Rep. Hunter’s Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 2012, TXOGA President Todd Staples said, “Texas consumers do not want to give electricity generators a blank check.

“New, untested and unproven programs like the PUCT’s proposed Performance Credit Mechanism that is based on administratively determined pricing must have checks and balances to protect consumers.

“Without strong safeguards, the PCM would dramatically shift risk away from generators to homeowners and businesses and compromise our market-driven system,” Staples said. “Texas can meet its goals of a reliable and affordable electricity grid and we applaud the members of the Legislature, Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick and Speaker Phelan for making consumer protections a priority as improvements continue to be made to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas system.”

Staples said TXOGA had emphatically opposed institutionalizing the PCM since the PUCT board voted in favor of it in January.

“We support CSSB 2012 by Chairman Hunter because it will establish robust guardrails to protect both businesses and consumers by adopting a price cap for performance credits to generators if the PCM is implemented, require a costs and benefits to consumers study and ensure that credits are paid for actual performance.”

Staples said Hunter’s bill would also establish penalties for generators that didn’t perform, provide transparency through rule-making and set a date for sunset and full review of the PCM.

“TXOGA thanks Chairman Hunter and the State Affairs Committee for their consideration of this important committee substitute and we look forward to our continued work with the Legislature to protect consumers and ensure grid reliability,” he said.