It’s that time of the legislative session. Bills are dying en masse, like lemmings dropping off a cliff. Many would have helped electricity consumers in Texas. But some pro-consumer bills still stand a good chance of passage. What follows is a quick (and partial) rundown of some bills of interest, and their fates so far. The 82nd Legislative Session ends May 30th.
System Benefit Fund
House Bill 519 (by Rep. Sylvester Turner) and Senate Bill 319 (by Sen. John Carona) would have bolstered a special fund intended to help low-income electric consumers, but which has been continually raided by legislative budget writers. But House Bill 519 never made it to the House floor and Senate Bill 319 never made it out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Likelihood of Passage: None.
Senate Bill 1219 (by Sen. John Carona) would improve the powertochoose website, which is the website sponsored by the state to promote the competitive electricity market. This legislation has already passed out of the Senate and chances are good it will pass out of the House.
Likelihood of Passage: Good.
Senate Bill 1434 (by Sen. John Carona) would enhance standards for those who provide government-sponsored weatherization services for low-income Texans. This legislation has already passed out of the Senate.
Likelihood of Passage: Fair.
Senate Bill 948 (By Sen. Wendy Davis) and House Bill 1006 (by Rep. Sylvester Turner) would have required that retail electric providers offer a standard product, with uniform terms and conditions, along with all their other offers. Neither of these bills made it to the floors of their respective chambers.
Likelihood of Passage: Slim to None.
House Bill 2133 (by Rep. Burt Solomons) would require generators found to have violated rules in the wholesale electricity market to surrender inappropriate profits. The intent of this legislation is to attempt to return those funds to electricity consumers. This legislation has already passed from the Texas House and is heading for the floor of the Senate.
Likelihood of passage: Good.
Is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.