Texas Senate Approves Amended Bill To Revise Composition Of Texas PUC
March 26, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
The following story is brought free of charge to readers byEC Infosystems, the exclusive EDI provider of EnergyChoiceMatters.com
The Texas Senate has approved an amended version of SB 2154, which would change the composition of the Texas PUC
The bill now heads to the House
SB 2154 would revise the PUC to be five commissioners, versus the current three
Notably, SB 2154 provides that, not later than the 30th day after the effective date of the bill, the governor shall appoint a person to the Public Utility Commission of Texas to serve as the presiding officer of the commission in accordance with Section 12.053, Utilities Code, as amended by the bill.
In other words, depending on the speed of adoption and the vote margin (the bill's effective date is immediate upon a favorable vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house), the provision could compel an appointment while the Senate may still be in session (or a subsequent special session) and therefore the appointment would be subject to Senate confirmation (which is not required for appointment outside of session).
The lone amendment in the engrossed version, versus the previously reported committee substitute, is that SB 2154 now provides that at least two of the PUC commissioners must be well informed and
qualified in the field of public utilities and utility regulation.
The contrasts to the committee substitute, which would have provided that three commissioners, including the presiding officer, must be, "well informed and qualified in the field of public utilities and utility regulation." (a current requirement for all commissioners)
SB 2154 would require that commissioners have at least five years of experience: (A) in the administration of business or government or (B) as a practicing attorney, [or] certified public accountant, or professional engineer.
Under the bill, a person is not eligible for appointment as a commissioner if the person at any time during the one year preceding appointment:
(A) personally served as an officer, director, owner, employee, partner, or legal representative of a public utility regulated by the commission or of an affiliate or direct competitor of a public utility regulated by the commission; [or]
(B) owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, more than a 10 percent interest in a public utility regulated by the commission or in an affiliate or direct competitor of a public utility regulated by the commission; or
(C) served as an executive officer listed under Section 1, Article IV, Texas Constitution, other than the secretary of state, or a member of the legislature; or
Under current law, the restrictions under (A) and (B) apply for two years, not one year