Posts Tagged ‘PUC’

Public Citizen’s positions on the pre-filed amendments to the PUC Sunset bill can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/Guide_to_Amend_PUC_Sunset_bill_HB1600 or in the table below.

Support These Amendments to Improve the PUC Sunset Bill

Bar code # Sponsor Description Comment
830096 Cook clean up cleans up language in bill – no substantial changes
830097 Cook clean up cleans up language in bill – no substantial changes
830077 Davis bans sharing of customer info from advanced meters eliminates the value of smart meter – demand response providers may not be able to operate (NOTE: amendment to the amendment will fix this problem)
830076 Davis requires annual  review of certificate holders
830087 Davis requires written disclosure prior to releasing info from advanced meters protects customer privacy while allowing demand response providers to operate with permission of customer
830088 Davis makes utility liable for damages to advanced meter during installation or removal protects customer from unreasonable charges
830089 Davis bans billing for average use of electricity restricts customer choice (NOTE: amendment to the amendment will fix this problem by allowing customers to choose levelized billing)
830090 Davis reregulates the electric market assures adequate resources to meet the load
830101 King caps transmission congestion costs protects consumers
830104 Phillips prevents Texas generators from exporting electricity from ERCOT during an electricity emergency protects reliability in ERCOT
830084 Phillips bans cost recovery for interstate transmission lines out of state electric generators must finance their own transmission
830086 Rodriguez sets 35%  renewable portfolio standard by 2020 increases generation, local jobs and investment
830082 Strama establishes a peak energy portfolio standard improves reliability and increases local investment and jobs
830106 C Turner requires study by gas utilities on replacing their gas distribution lines improves safety
830072 S Turner requires legislative approval to increase the Universal Service Fund limits costs to consumers
830073 S Turner restricts cease and desist orders for customers to those causing a danger provides reasonable restrictions of PUC power and protects customers
830078 S Turner increases state penalties for market abuses and eliminates double jeopardy restores recommendation of Sunset Advisory Commission staff to increase fines for market abuse
830103 S Turner requires cost-benefit analysis when PUC makes significant market changes helps protect consumers
830102 Vo requires 30 day notice of discretionary changes in electric rates provides some customer protection against unexpected electric rate increases
830098 Walle limits water companies to one rate increase each 3 years and limits the amount of any increase protects consumers

Oppose These Bad Amendments to the PUC Sunset Bill

Bar code # Sponsor Description Comment
830095 Cook changes qualifications for PUC commissioners allows utilities to have too much control over commission
830100 Gonzalez gives PUC citing authority over a new plant in the El Paso area shouldn’t apply to just one company
830085 Krause eliminates the PUC’s ability to issue a cease and desist order jeopardizes reliability
830105 Laubenberg eliminates the PUC’s ability to issue a cease and desist order jeopardizes reliability
830091 Phillips interferes with reliability must run plans could jeopardize reliability and create inefficiencies
830092 Phillips requires CREZ lines to be buried in a specific municipality significantly increases electric consumers’ costs
830093 Stanford eliminates cease and desist orders for retail customers prevents the PUC from stopping abusive behavior and protecting reliability of the electric grid
830094 Sheets creates a 5 member Public Utility Commission two commissioners could meet without following open meeting requirements
830079 Simpson eliminates the PUC’s ability to issue a cease and desist order jeopardizes reliability
830080 Simpson eliminates cease and desist orders for retail customers prevents the PUC from preventing abusive behavior and protecting reliability of the electric grid
830081 Simpson shifts cost of opting out of advanced metering to other customers puts unfair cost burden on customers
830074 S Turner changes to single elected commissioner opens door to even more industry influence over regulators through campaign contributions

Read Full Post »

Advocates fault PUC for turning a blind eye to industry as Texas falls behind

Solar energy backers rallied outside the Texas Public Utility Commission [last] week seeking enforcement of a seven-year-old law that would boost electric generation from geothermal, biomass and the state’s ample supply of sunshine.

Public comment [ended Friday]on proposed rulemaking at the PUC, which has been reluctant to embrace the non-wind portion of the so-called renewable portfolio standards passed by the Texas Legislature in 2005. With those standards calling for generation of about 500 megawatts of renewable power from non-wind sources by 2015 and 3,000 megawatts by 2025, the Clean Energy Works for Texas Campaign sent petitions to the PUC urging it to carry out the law’s provisions. The group estimates that more than 6,000 individuals across Texas and 50 businesses or organizations lent their signatures in support.

“Why aren’t we seeing the clean energy we’ve demanded from our legislators? Why aren’t we seeing the thousands of new green jobs, new energy businesses and new tax revenues for our underfunded schools?” asked activist Dave Cortez of the Texas BlueGreen Apollo Alliance. “Four words: The Texas Public Utility Commission – a government agency run by unelected commissioners who have the power to take state law and misinterpret it, sit on it, lambast it, everything but implement it and ultimately say, ‘No, sorry. We don’t like it.’”

The PUC’s stand, as articulated by Chairman Donna Nelson, stresses the fact that wind power’s success has eclipsed the minimum renewable standards set in the law many times over. And, she argues that the law’s instructions on non-wind energy are not mandatory, a point of contention with solar backers. Moreover, she has said propping up solar power would increase electric bills and that the commission is not in the business of favoring one type of energy generation over another.

Executives from two Austin-based solar companies who attended the rally said each had respectively grown from only two employees to at least 25. And, with the business climate unfriendly to solar in Texas, they said, both companies are making upcoming expansions in a state more hospitable to their interests.

“The bad news is we’re in the process of opening a second office, and the second office will be in California,” said Tim Padden, founder of Revolve Solar. “I would rather be in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston, but the reality is California has taken a stand to support the development of the solar industry seriously by setting statewide goals and local support for their solar companies. I want to see this happen here in my home state. These could be Texas jobs.”

Stan Pipkin of Lighthouse Solar, an Austin-based solar design integration firm said his own company has shown an almost identical job growth and will also be opening offices in California.

“I’m deeply concerned that Texas is not taking advantage of the energy resource we have in most abundance,” he said. “Texas is currently 10th in solar capacity. This is absolutely confounding given our solar resource, our electric demand and our shortage of reserve capacity. It just doesn’t make sense.”

By Polly Ross Hughes

Copyright September 14, 2012, Harvey Kronberg, www.texasenergyreport.com, All rights are reserved.  Reposted by TexasVox.org with permission of the Texas Energy Report.

The PUC has put the non-wind RPS on the agenda for its open meeting this Thursday.  We need you to be there to show your support for moving forward with the rulemaking process.  Please email [email protected] if you are interested in attending.  The meeting will be in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room on the 7th Floor of the William B. Travis building at 1701 N. Congress Ave, Austin.

Read Full Post »

We are taking our Clean Energy Works for Texas campaign to the doorstep of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) next week.  We hope you will join us for a rally on Thursday, October 18 at 12 p.m. in front of the William B. Travis building at 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701

We are urging the PUC to create rules to enforce and expand the non-wind renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Passed into law in 2005, the non-wind RPS has languished at the PUC, thanks to pressure from certain lobby interests not to enforce the law. 7 years is too long to wait.

The PUC needs to hear that the people of Texas are ready to get to work building 21st century energy economies. With more solar potential than any other state, Texas should be an epicenter of the solar industry. Our workers should be supplying solar panels, inverters and other equipment to the rest of the country and the world. Enforcing the non-wind renewable portfolio standard will send a message to investors that Texas is open for business.


For more information on the campaign and to sign on in support, visit www.CleanEnergyWorksForTexas.org.

Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Read Full Post »

As interim legislative hearings and ERCOT workshops grapple with the drought’s anticipated stresses for Texas electric generation and reliability, Sen.Kirk Watson (D-Austin), is calling on the Texas Public Utility Commission to give solar energy a push.

“You stated that your highest priority as chair of the PUC is to prevent rolling outages,”Watson wrote in a Jan. 13 letter to PUC Chair Donna Nelson, mentioning her testimony last week before the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.

“Drought-proof solar power that can be available at the times of peak demand is one way to avoid rolling outages,” his letter continued. It noted that Nelson mentioned the importance of wind energy and the state’s CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zones) lines in reducing the state’s reliance on water.

Nelson has opposed rulemaking to promote solar energy generation as directed in a bill passed by the Texas Legislature in 2005 directing the PUC to establish a non-wind renewable energy target of 500 megawatts. Nelson, however, has said that Senate Bill 20 by Sen.Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) during that special session was not mandatory.

During a PUC meeting in December 2010, Nelson said she believed the PUC needed more direct guidance from the legislature during the spring 2011 session before moving forward.

“It’s called a target,” she said, “and everyone knows a target is not mandatory. It would be my preference if we waited – forever.” When a proposed rule on the matter surfaced again last summer, the commission tabled it.

In his letter, Watson took issue with Nelson’s argument that the PUC lacks legislative authority.

“Moving forward on the 500 megawatt non-wind renewable energy rule is an act that lies fully within your authority and that requires no further action or direction from the legislature,” Watson wrote. “It would boost investment in solar power right away, at a time when any potential cost to consumers can be mitigated by federal investment tax incentives in place through 2016. Not only would this action be seen as a wise and prudent step for ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) grid reliability, but it would be a simple and bold display of the leadership that our state desperately needs.”

See Sen. Watson’s letter below.

Read Full Post »

The worst drought in more than 50 years in Texas is expected to continue as a weak La Nina weather pattern is predicted to strengthen this winter.  Drought has already reduced cooling water needed by coal-fired power plants and may limit electric output from power plants next summer, an official from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT – the grid operator)  reported.

At this time, only one small generating unit is currently curtailed due to a lack of adequate cooling water, however a continuation of the severe drought in Texas could result in as much as 3,000 MW being unavailable next summer, Kent Saathoff, vice president of ERCOT grid operations told the board last week.

The drought has lowered the water level at nearly every reservoir in the state, according to the Texas Water Development Board. A lack of cooling water limits the ability of a power plant to operate at full capacity.

Texas’ hottest summer on record pushed power consumption to record levels, straining the state’s electric resources on many days in August.

Grid officials and lawmakers are worried that the drought will compound existing issues that impact the state’s power supply: looming environmental regulations that will curtail output from coal-fired power plants and a lack of new power-plant investment.

ERCOT predicts about 434 megawatts would be unavailable next summer if Texas gets about half its normal rainfall over the winter and spring months and if there is no significant rainfall, as much as 3,000 MW could be unavailable by May.

Power plant owners are taking steps to increase access to cooling water by increasing pumping capacity, adding pipelines to alternate water sources and securing additional water rights.  Some water authorities have already curtailed new “firm” water contracts, so it may be harder for plants to secure additional water.

Right now, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) is working to implement new energy efficiency legislation.  If we just used our energy more efficiently, we wouldn’t have come so close to a grid crisis even under the extreme circumstances of this past summer.  Other states have used energy efficiency to keep the lights on for their families and businesses when they were having problems by cutting energy demand by 20% or more on the hottest days of the summer.
Studies have shown that Texas could cut 23% of our peak energy use on the hottest days and it would be cheaper than generating electricity.
To prevent rolling blackouts next summer, the governor and the PUC could improve the energy efficiency and market-based conservation programs that will keep our air conditioning running on hot summer days and keep our local  businesses operating . 

The Texas Public Utility Commission should:

  • Reward utilities that exceed their energy efficiency goals.
  • Use the money from a program set up to provide utility assistance for eligible Texans that is funded by fee Texans pay on their electric bills every month for the weatherization of low-income homes.

And the governor can issue an executive order that requires all state agencies, schools, municipal and county governments to reduce energy use by 5% next summer and report their savings to the state.

You can email the governor and express your opinion by clicking here.

Read Full Post »

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) has named one of Gov. Rick Perry’s chief energy advisers to take over as executive director of the agency that oversees the much of the electric industry in the state as well as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Brian Lloyd, spent 10 years at PUC before joining governor’s office where he currently serves as Perry’s deputy director of budget and planning.  Lloyd is also the Governor’s liaison with the PUC and will take over on December 1st  for Lane Lanford, who left to become compliance director for the Texas Reliability Entity, which monitors and enforces reliability standards in the electricity sector.

Read Full Post »

If you didn’t think the Governor race in Texas can get any crazier, you were mistaken. Texans for Public Justice released a report today which shows the Governor receives contributions from his political appointees. (This we knew, but in these amounts?) According to the report, Perry’s campaign has received more than 17 million dollars in contributions from his appointees and their spouses since 2001. These contributions come from entities like the A&M Board of Regents to the Texas Tax Reform Commission.

Perry’s hands are in every government agency in the state. His appointees rank from commissioners of big agencies like the PUC or the TCEQ to smaller ones like the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority. The report points out that almost a quarter of his appointees have given money to his campaign fund. This is not the first time news about Perry’s shakedown of his appointees come out, in 2005, the Houston Chronicle published a story about Perry collecting 5 million dollar from his appointees. The contributions averaged about 18 thousand dollars but if you look at the chart below (From TPJ) , you can see that the governor received hundred of thousands of dollars from some appointees.

This explains Perry’s fierce defense of his appointees when something bad floats to surface and it also explains how he has been the longest-serving governor in Texas. In a country that prides itself on a check-and-balance type of government, those kind of reports and numbers should be staggering to people.

For fairness sake, many would say Bill White is just the same, he also receives contributions from his political appointees. According a Texas Tribune article, they are right, but the scale is entirely different.  Since White started being in public life in the 90’s, he has collected about 2 million dollars. This is on a much lower scale than the 17 million dollars Perry received in less than ten years, and the fact that this 17 million represents between one-quarter to one-fifth of the money raised by Perry.

It is dangerous to our state that our governor is banking on the shaping of policy in Texas. But here in Public Citizen, we always say, “the only thing that beats organized money is organized people, ” so it is our turn to look at the facts, learn about the issues, and reject the status quo of money having an undue influence in politics.  We call on all candidates for public office to support REAL reform of our campaign finance system, including bans on raising unlimited money from appointees and especially by moving to a system of public financing for all offices.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

Today, Public Citizen and Environmental Defense Fund sent a letter to the Legislature calling on them to support the creation of a new state agency dedicated to efficiency. I tend to think in the problem-cause-solution framework about public policy issues so here’s the short version:

Problem: Energy efficiency languishes in Texas after years of progress.  Indeed, the way Texas oversees its efficiency programs is ineffective, and ironically, inefficient.

Cause: There are at least five and potentially six state agencies that are involved in efficiency programs. They do not coordinate with each other. Many state employees probably do the same job. Meanwhile, the PUC  fails to pass strong energy efficiency goals and they do not recognize energy efficiency as a pro-consumer and pro-business investment.

Solution: Consolidate all state efficiency programs into an entity that could independently review, approve and assess the current PUC and other state programs.

For the full letter sent to the Lege, click here.

What you can do about it: Call, email, your State Rep. and Senator. Tell them it’s time for energy efficiency reform. We can make it work better for all Texans.



By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

Public Citizen, Environmental Defense Fund Call for Independent State Agency to Coordinate State’s Energy Efficiency Efforts

AUSTIN – In response to the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) planned adoption of new energy efficiency goals, Public Citizen and Environmental Defense Fund today called for sweeping changes to the way Texas runs its energy efficiency programs. The groups said that a single independent state agency would better serve Texas because it could coordinate programs currently regulated by multiple agencies and reduce agency overlap.

“We have no confidence in the Public Utility Commission process,” said David Power, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “The time has come to change the way Texas saves energy because the current setup is ineffective. It is time for the Legislature to take control and create a new state agency that can put consumers first and save more money.”

The groups plan to send a letter to state Sen. Troy Fraser, chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and state Reps. Jim Keffer and Burt Solomons, chairs of the House Energy Resources and State Affairs Committees, asking them to support legislation in the upcoming session to create an independent efficiency agency.

Under current law, the PUC, the agency in charge of regulating most of the state’s “poles and wires” companies, is supposed to review and approve the energy efficiency programs of the utilities. But other state agencies oversee efficiency programs too, including the Department of Housing and Community Affairs and State Energy Conservation Office. Housing the coordination of these efforts under one roof would help streamline state regulation and create more savings potential for Texans, the groups said.

“Several agencies either run or oversee similar programs,” said Kate Robertson, energy efficiency specialist with Environmental Defense Fund. “In some instances, like market outreach, a single state agency could coordinate the activities of all efficiency programs instead of multiple people doing the same thing for their own programs.”

The groups also criticized the PUC’s negative attitude toward energy efficiency. Over the past year and a half, agency staff had been developing plans to increase the state’s goal for energy efficiency. On Friday, however, the three commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Perry slashed the proposal dramatically, ostensibly for cost reasons, reducing the efficiency goal from 1 percent of peak demand by 2014 to a third of the growth in demand by 2013 – a much smaller increase. The PUC even has proposed curtailing the amount utilities can spend on efficiency measures.

“It is baffling to us that the commission thinks energy efficiency is not worth the cost,” said Matthew Johnson, a policy analyst with Public Citizen’s Texas office. “Ratepayers’ utility bills pay primarily for fuel like natural gas and coal, power plants and the grid infrastructure. Energy efficiency costs around a dollar per month on a typical $100 electric bill and it pays for itself by reducing the need for new, costly power plants.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Perry Appointees Smitherman, Nelson, Anderson protect consumers from energy efficiency

There is a disturbing trend emerging in Texas. A once successful consumer-oriented program is floundering because of a deficit of perspective behind the dais at the PUC.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas proposed adopting an update to the state’s energy efficiency program that would cap the amount of money utilities could spend on programs that reduce the energy bills for homes and businesses.

Under the rule, utility expenditures on energy efficiency would be limited to one tenth of one cent per kilowatt-hour. That’s $0.001, which would amount to around a dollar a month for the average home. It’s worth pointing out that there are no cost caps for other energy resources, just the cheapest one.

This bears repeating: the PUC does not want utilities to spend more money to fund programs that make Texas homes more energy efficient and reduce their utility bills.

During today’s hearing, it was abundantly clear that Governor Perry’s appointees to the commission have folded to industry pressure and adopted the bizarre world view that energy efficiency costs consumers too much money. As evidence, in addition to only considering utility industry estimates on the cost of future efficiency resources, they frequently alluded to a report released this week by the conservative and industry-friendly Texas Public Policy Foundation which made unsubstantiated claims that the consumer benefits of energy efficiency programs could not only be less than currently estimated, but actually negative (page 3). (A more detailed critique of their report is coming).

At a workshop earlier this month, the commissioners only allowed industry representatives to present information. No consumer advocates, environmental groups, no academics were allowed to present and even the comments by ACEEE seem to have been ignored.

It’s now time for the Legislature to be the grownups in the room (more…)

Read Full Post »

Phoenix, AZ – Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission acted to save consumers and businesses money by unanimously approving a final Energy Efficiency Standard Rule.

“There was strong support from all five commissioners to significantly increase Arizona’s commitment to energy efficiency via this landmark new standard,” said Jeff Schlegel with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “Arizona’s utility customers benefit from this standard as they will have better access to energy efficiency measures that will reduce energy consumption and lower their utility bills.  Consumers and businesses will save billions of dollars in lower energy costs.”

The Energy Efficiency Standard established in the Rule will achieve 22 percent energy savings in 2020 as a percent of retail sales from energy efficiency, with a credit of up to 2 percent for demand response.  This will put in place one of the strongest energy efficiency standards in the country.

“The energy efficiency rule is a big step forward in decreasing energy use and reliance on polluting sources of energy,” said Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This will mean less air pollution, decreased water use, fewer emissions that contribute to climate change, and a more sustainable future for all Arizonans.”

Reduced power generation associated with energy efficiency measures will result in a decrease of a number of pollutants including carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and other pollutants.  This will reduce the public health impacts related to emissions of particulate matter and mercury, and also reduce our contribution to global climate change.
The energy efficiency measures that are contemplated by the rule must be cost effective and will result in saving ratepayers money by lowering their overall bills for electricity.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective resources around and is much less costly than constructing and operating new power plants,” said David Berry with Western Resource Advocates.

“The Commission deserves credit for doing their part to help a struggling economy.  A strong energy efficiency standard is a win-win-win policy: ratepayers save money on their monthly electric bills; children, seniors and those with weak immune systems enjoy better health; and Arizonans continue to receive improved air quality,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

Well, somebody’s got their heads on straight. Arizona gets it– why not Texas?  A little disheartening when you have the PUC deciding efficiency rules tomorrow and groups like the Texas Public Policy Foundation poo-pooing energy efficiency (they think we should build nukes!  Amazing!  Nuclear energy is like conservative “think” tank kryptonite– they HATE government subsidies and bailouts until it comes to nukes. Then they just can’t get enough of them.)

So, final word: Efficiency = lower bills, less pollution.  Building more non-renewables power plants = high bills, more pollution.  In this case, is this Arizona = good, Texas = needs to catch up to Arizona?


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

In 1977, the Texas Legislature created the Sunset Advisory Commission to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies. The 12-member Commission is a legislative body that reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years. The Commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency’s operations and activities. The Commission seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature. In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.

The Commission holds public hearings on each agency under review. These hearings offer the public an opportunity to testify about an agency and comment on the Sunset staff’s recommendations. Witness affirmation forms are available at the meeting if you would like to testify before the Commission Public hearings are webcast and archives are available. (more…)

Read Full Post »

ERCOT Chair Steps Down Citing Personal Reasons

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) just announced board of directors’ chair, Jan Newton, has resigned citing personal reasons.  Ms. Newton served on the ERCOT board since 2006 and became the chair in 2008.

Her resignation is the second major departure from ERCOT in the past eight months. In September of 2009, CEO Bob Kahn submitted his and ERCOT is still in the process of a nationwide search for his replacement.  Conjecture about the possibility that the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) chair, Barry Smitherman, (who also serves on the ERCOT board of directors as a ex-officio member) had thrown his hat in the ring for the position was cut short when Chairman Smitherman announced publically that he had decided not to pursue the job. 

At the time, while energy watchdogs agreed that Smitherman was highly qualified for the ERCOT job, they were also concerned that such an employment bid posed a conflict — first as a PUC commissioner charged with establishing the rules for ERCOT’s operation and, second, as a board member (albeit a non-voting one) of the agency he was asking to hire him. It was also unclear whether the laws governing the PUC would allow a commissioner to seek the ERCOT job.  Texas’ Public Utility Regulatory Act says commissioners can’t seek employment with a “public utility” while serving on the PUC.  ERCOT doesn’t technically qualify as a public utility, however industry insiders felt it was a gray area, and the spirit of the law looked prohibitive.  So the search goes on.

Michehl Gent, who also joined the board in 2006, will step up as the incoming chair.  Gent was former president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

Read Full Post »

The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) is considering proposed rules changes that will in many ways improve consumer protection, but contains some provisions that could allow retail electric providers (REP) to disconnect medically vulnerable customers who rely on electricity to sustain their lives.  Other rules being considered could make it impossible for a consumer who is in debt to a retail electric provider to switch to lower cost services, eliminating their right to choose.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

Statement of Tom “Smitty” Smith, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office

Today Texans proved that there is a very high demand for energy-efficient products and services when they made reservations for $23 million worth of appliance rebates in just eight hours, using up rebates in the first day they became available. This goes to show how eager Texans are to trade in their tired, energy-sucking clunkers for newer, more efficient models. Not only will this trade-in program reduce consumers’ energy bills, it also will reduce smog and global warming pollution.

Given this incredible demand, we urge the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish another appliance rebate program like this as part of the expanded energy efficiency program the agency is currently considering. We’re sure that the numerous Texans who were unable to make a reservation are disappointed and would jump at a second chance at additional funds. In order to make the money go further, the size of the rebates probably should be reduced to assure that more people can participate.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »