If you’re concerned about government spending, consolidating existing efficiency programs and oversight into one agency has the potential to reduce overlap and redundancy in government and create more opportunities for consumers and businesses to save money. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘PUCT’
Posted in Consumers, Efficiency, Energy, Global Warming, Good Government, tagged efficiency agency, Energy Efficiency, environmental defense fund, Jim Marston, PUCT, state energy conservation office, texas comptroller, texas department of housing and community affairs on August 30, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
PUC Chair’s TX Tribune Interview: Needs Lege Direction on Efficiency, One Agency Idea Might Make Sense
Posted in Air Quality, Consumers, Efficiency, Energy, Global Warming, tagged Barry Smitherman, CREZ, Kate Galbraith, public citizen texas, Public Utilties Commission, PUCT, Texas Legislature, texas tribune on August 12, 2010 | 3 Comments »
Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman recently sat down with Texas Tribune reporter Kate Galbraith to talk about energy efficiency, CREZ, smart-meters, non-wind renewables, the switch-hold rule, the Lege, and Federal climate legislation (or lack thereof?). It’s a good read/listen if you have some time. Some interesting highlights:
Galbraith: What do think of the environmentalists’ proposal to house all aspects of energy efficiency under one roof?
Smitherman: I talked to Smitty about it on Thursday, when I came back because I was out of the office last week, and I came in and I was catching up on the clips, and I called him up and I said, well that was quite a letter you sent to Speaker Straus, and we kind of laughed about it a little bit. You know, I think there’s some merit to it. Because whether it’s SECO or here or over at the housing agency, there’s at least three if not more places. Plus you’ve got the local community efforts where energy efficiency dollars are being expended, and there’s really no mechanism in place to coordinate that. And so if you want to take it and put it in SECO or put it over here, I don’t care. I think creating an entirely separate new agency is going to be tough next session because it’s going to be a busy session with redistricting and the budget and a number of other issues — Sunset — but it might make sense to take energy efficiency and house it in one place.
It is encouraging to hear the chairman agree that the nifty idea of combining efficiency programs under one roof makes sense. PS- The “Smitty” he mentions is Public Citizen’s own Texas State Director Tom “Smitty” Smith, our boss.
On direction from the 82nd Lege:
Galbraith: Do you expect more direction next session?
Smitherman: I do. I think there are a number of members that believe very strongly in energy efficiency. And we saw that this last session with a couple of bills, and so I would expect there to be a robust debate at the end of the session. I don’t know where it will come out at the end of the day, but I think that the debate will be there. And what I hope continues to happen is that we use a broad portfolio of tools to address our energy security and independence and price stability, and energy efficiency is one of those tools. I wouldn’t suggest that we do only energy efficiency and not build the CREZ, for example; or not try to promote a new nuclear plant. But there are some people who really believe that energy efficiency is the way to go.
I don’t know who is advocating for only energy efficiency to accomplish clean air, lower bills and energy security, but it certainly should be a top priority, no?
Check out the entire transcript here to get the rest of the good stuff.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.
The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) is considering proposed rules changes that will in many ways improve consumer protection, but contains some provisions that could allow retail electric providers (REP) to disconnect medically vulnerable customers who rely on electricity to sustain their lives. Other rules being considered could make it impossible for a consumer who is in debt to a retail electric provider to switch to lower cost services, eliminating their right to choose. (more…)
Posted in Energy, Renewables, tagged buy back rates, electric rates, environment texas, foreign oil, gallego, house state affairs committee, lubbock, luke metzger, net metering, pollution, public utilities commission of texas, PUCT, shallowater high school, solar energy, solar panels, solar power, solomons, Texas, texas house, Texas Legislature, texas senate, TXU on May 11, 2009 | 13 Comments »
On Monday, the Texas House will decide whether to promote solar energy by requiring utilities to pay consumers fair prices for surplus solar power or to codify anti-consumer practices in order to benefit big utilities like TXU. Here’s the story.
Sick of riding the rollercoaster of high electric rates and concerned over pollution and dependence on foreign oil, many Texans are turning to solar power to get more choices than their electric company provides. More than 40 states help consumers do this by requiring electric companies to pay a fair price for the surplus electricity solar panels put back on the grid (known as net metering). In return, the electric grid benefits from a supply of pollution-free electricity during peak-demand time periods, such as hot summer afternoons, avoiding congestion costs and dampening real-time on-peak wholesale energy prices. The more renewable generation that is located at customer’s houses and businesses, the less will need to be charged in the future to all customers’ electric bills for wires, fuel and pollution costs. Incentivizing solar will also help create jobs and attract manufacturers to the state.
In addition to consumer rebates and tax credits, net metering is a key financial driver making solar power a cost-effective investment for consumers. Texas had such a policy in place in the 1980s, but with the restructuring of the electric market, old definitions of electric utilities no longer applied and net metering was inadvertently ended. (more…)