Texas Electric Deregulation Plodding Along
Texas' electricity markets would open to competition Jan. 1,
2002 if a bill making its way through the state legislature passes
the senate. An earlier version of the bill passed the senate, but
another vote is required there since the legislation changed in the
house. The governor has voiced his support for deregulation.
The legislation would freeze rates of investor-owned utilities
until competition begins Jan. 1, 2002, and then would lower those
rates 6%. Appropriate consumer protections would have to be
followed by all retail electricity providers. The first-ever
program to help low-income residents, including low-income elderly
and disabled, pay bills and improve home energy efficiency would be
Stranded cost recovery is provided for, and securitization may
be used as a mechanism for recovering those costs. Stranded costs
in Texas are estimated to be has high as $9 billion. The
legislative session ends May 31.
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