Tribpedia: Public Utility Commission

Tribpedia

The Public Utility Commission protects public interest, fosters competition, and promotes high quality infrastructure in regard to public utility rates, operations, and services. 

It was established by the Public Utility Regulatory Act in 1975. Texas was the last state to enact such a law. 

According to The Dallas Morning News, "In the past seven years, Texans have filed 54,356 ...

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Texas Revives Low-Income Energy Efficiency Proposal

A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.
A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.

Texas regulators say they have a plan to provide low-income Texans with the tools to help them interact with "smart" meters and improve energy efficiency at their homes – tapping $18.5 million of ratepayer money long earmarked for such a program. The announcement came six weeks after the Tribune reported that the proposal had spent years in bureaucratic limbo.

Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."
Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."

On Climate Rules, Regulators Look Beyond Litigation

Texas should not bank on legal action to free it from the Obama administration’s proposal to tackle climate change, two officials with state regulators said Friday at a Public Utility Commission workshop, during which state regulators, industry representatives and energy experts wrangled with the complexities of the EPA proposal and debated how Texas should proceed.

Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line  through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.
Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.

Rancher's Complaint May Spur New Power Line Rules

A North Texas rancher’s protest of a power line that splits his land – one he says was built in the wrong place – could prompt new rules addressing when a transmission company can tweak a line’s route after it is approved.

 

 

The Rolling V Ranch in Wise County, Texas is home to power transmission lines built by Oncor. The owner, Johnny Vinson says one stretch of the new lines are not built where Oncor promised to build them.
The Rolling V Ranch in Wise County, Texas is home to power transmission lines built by Oncor. The owner, Johnny Vinson says one stretch of the new lines are not built where Oncor promised to build them.

North Texas Rancher's Power Line Battle Gains Attention

UPDATED: The Texas Public Utility Commission on Friday heard oral arguments in the case of a Wise County rancher protesting a power line that he says was built in the wrong place on his property. Landowners and utilities say that the case could have far-reaching implications for how power lines are built. The commission is poised to vote on the line’s fate on May 30.

Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line  through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.
Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.

In Power Line Dispute, Rancher Questions Wiggle Room

After landowners sign off on power line routes, can transmission companies install them somewhere else? The Public Utility Commission is set to consider a rancher’s complaint that a 345-kilovolt power line that a transmission operator erected is 150 feet north of where it was originally mapped.

 

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

ERCOT: Growth in Texas Energy Demand Slows

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said the state’s peak power demand is growing more slowly than previously thought, buying time for regulators hoping to bolster reliability on the electric grid. 

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

In Grid Debate, New Info Doesn't Sway Opinions

Should Texas overhaul its electricity market? And if so, how much would it cost? A highly anticipated report has shed some light on those questions amid an increasingly contentious debate. Unsurprisingly, people on both sides of the debate say the new analysis supports their position.

Homeowner Adam Leija demonstrating how CPS energy's "home manager program" works.
Homeowner Adam Leija demonstrating how CPS energy's "home manager program" works.

Demand Response Could Factor in Grid Debate

As the utilities and big energy users spar in Austin over how to best encourage the building of power plants, another important issue that is getting less public attention is about how Texas can curb its energy use. 

 

 

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, greeting supporters at a phone bank in Austin.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, greeting supporters at a phone bank in Austin.

Davis Expresses Concerns on Energy Market Proposal

Wendy Davis has joined a chorus of lawmakers who are urging the Texas Public Utility Commission to put the brakes on efforts to transform the state’s wholesale electricity market, expressing concerns that the move would unnecessarily cost ratepayers billions of extra dollars.

Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, asks the Senate to adopt the conference committee report on voter ID legislation on May 9, 2011.
Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, asks the Senate to adopt the conference committee report on voter ID legislation on May 9, 2011.

On Market Decision, Lawmakers Question PUC's Authority

In a contentious hearing, lawmakers expressed skepticism about transforming Texas' wholesale energy market, accusing the PUC of moving too fast on an issue that, they said, the Legislature should ultimately decide.   

 

 

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

Texas PUC Vote Signals Support for Market Shift

Texas regulators signaled Friday that they would pursue a major overhaul of the wholesale electricity market in hopes of ensuring the long-term reliability of the state’s electric grid.

Near Sweetwater, construction is complete on transmission lines that will connect windy regions of the state to its population centers. The total cost of all the lines throughout Texas is estimated at nearly $7 billion.
Near Sweetwater, construction is complete on transmission lines that will connect windy regions of the state to its population centers. The total cost of all the lines throughout Texas is estimated at nearly $7 billion.

$7 Billion CREZ Project Nears Finish, Aiding Wind Power

Developers expect to soon flip the switch on the final electrical transmission projects built under the state’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zone initiative. It's a nearly $7 billion effort to connect Texas' windiest, mostly secluded regions to communities that demand more power.

A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.
A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.

As Towns Say No, Signs of Rising Resistance to Smart Meters

Advocates for smart electricity meters argue they are a critical part of maintaining a 21st century grid. Critics, though, have long argued that the meters present health risks and infringe on individual rights. But now, with legislative action to allow property owners to deny meters failing, municipalities are picking up the slack.

Roy Thornhill Sr. (center) voices his concern as residents of the City of Blue Mound, Texas, gather at their community center, on Monday, March 4, 2013.  The small North Texas City of Blue Mound held a town hall meeting on Monday, March 4, for its residents to sign a petition against what they say are unjustifiably high water rate increases.
Roy Thornhill Sr. (center) voices his concern as residents of the City of Blue Mound, Texas, gather at their community center, on Monday, March 4, 2013. The small North Texas City of Blue Mound held a town hall meeting on Monday, March 4, for its residents to sign a petition against what they say are unjustifiably high water rate increases.

Blue Mound Residents Boiling Over Water Rate

In the North Texas town of Blue Mound, the water system is owned by a private corporation. Residents say this results in painful rate hikes. Private water companies say their rates reflect the high costs of providing water to far-flung areas. The Legislature is considering ways to make it easier for communities to challenge rate increases.

Little Hope for Overhaul as Fund Nears $1 Billion

Cost-cutting and fiscal transparency will likely dominate the upcoming legislative session, but lawmakers are holding out little hope for an overhaul of the System Benefit Fund, a pot of $850 million not being used for its intended purposes. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

At PUC Hearing, a Push for Smart Meter Opt-Out Plan

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At a public meeting held by the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, a state representative suggested that the commission create a way to for customers to opt out of having smart electric meters installed on their homes, in response to some groups concerns about health and privacy.

Hearing on Smart Meters Poised to Draw Crowd

After months of fielding complaints about smart electric meters, the Texas Public Utility Commission will hold an open meeting Tuesday to hear testimony from opponents and supporters of the technology. In advance of the forum, the commission has made special plans to accommodate a large crowd.

Meter on a home in Houston, TX
Meter on a home in Houston, TX

Higher Electricity Prices at Center of Energy Debate

With the arrival of higher temperatures now boosting energy demand in the state, higher electricity prices aren't likely to prove popular with Texans. But as Dave Fehling of KUHF News reports for StateImpact Texas, some say that's the only way to avoid rolling blackouts. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.