May 15th – mark it on your calendar. That’s the date of a public workshop scheduled in Houston devoted specifically to consumer rights under the state’s electric deregulation law. Sponsored by State Rep. Sylvester Turner, the first annual “Consumer Rights Electricity Workshop” will provide a forum to discuss products, pricing, social services and cost-cutting measures. Rep. Turner’s office also promises discussions “on consumer rights, (on) how to effectively advocate for policy changes, and … of important electricity issues the state will face in the 2011 legislative session.”

When it comes to electricity issues, the 2011 session should be a contentious one. That’s because both the Public Utility Commission and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the power grid, are now both under special legislative review. At the same time, residential electricity consumers continue to pay rates above the national average after enjoying a long history of below-average rates before deregulation.

Rep. Turner’s consumer workshop is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the CWA Union Hall in Houston. The address is 1730 Jefferson Street. For more information contact Cory Henrickson in Rep. Turner”s office. His email address is

— R.A. Dyer