Tribpedia: Public Utility Commission

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 ...

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the grand opening of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's new Austin building on April 21, 2015.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the grand opening of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's new Austin building on April 21, 2015.

Texas to Sue Federal Government Over "Clean Power Plan"

Attorney General Ken Paxton says he plans to sue the Obama administration over the proposed “Clean Power Plan,” its sweeping plan to combat climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power plants.

 

 

Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.
Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.

Barry Smitherman Lands Job at Law Firm

Barry Smitherman, the only person to serve both on the Texas Railroad Commission and the state’s Public Utility Commission, will practice energy law at Vinson and Elkins, the international law firm announced Tuesday.

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

Legislation Aims to Boost Electricity Conservation

Some state lawmakers are trying to cut Texas' energy use by encouraging demand response – programs under which utilities reward customers for powering down air conditioners, pool pumps or other electricity guzzlers when demand peaks. But they face strong industry opposition.

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 Revives Low-Income Energy Efficiency Proposal

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