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Senate Committee on Business and Commerce - 83rd R.S. (2013)

Committee Members
John Carona, Chair
Kevin Eltife, Chair
Larry Taylor, Vice Chair
Kevin Eltife
Craig Estes
Kelly Hancock
Eddie Lucio
Leticia Van de Putte
Kirk Watson
John Whitmire
Charges
• Review the administrative and financial state of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Specifically, review management's business practices that result in continued administrative oversight by the Texas Department of Insurance, and determine alternative financial methods to fund a probable maximum loss of a 1 in 75 or 1 in 100 year event. Monitor litigation developments. Develop and evaluate plans to reduce TWIA's total insured exposure. Monitor and make recommendations regarding an exposure reduction clearinghouse under development at TWIA, which aims to assist the transfer of TWIA policies to the free market. Study and make recommendations regarding the qualifications for building inspectors conducting inspections for the TWIA and other building inspectors statewide. Consider expanding the types of professionals qualified to conduct inspections and the appropriateentity to oversee inspectors.
• Review the Texas FAIR Plan's organizational and financial structure as the state's insurer of last resort for residential homeowner's insurance coverage. In particular, study the structural relationship to TWIA, cause of its current debt, and available coverages and rates compared to the private market. Evaluate proposals to reduce the total insured exposure of the FAIR Plan.
• Monitor the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure to ensure minimization of utility customer costs. Analyze developments and make recommendations regarding the health effects and privacy implications of the advanced metering infrastructure.
• Study initiatives taken by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to maintain the competitive retail electric market in the Electric Reliability Commission of Texas (ERCOT) areas of operation. Monitor PUC discussions regarding resource adequacy to ensure any decisions involve Texas-­?specific, free-­?market reforms. Review PUC procedures related to rate case expenses and study opportunities to enhance efficiencies. Consider benefits and costs of programs aimed at energy efficiency and demand response to help mitigate strains on the electric grid. Consider options for enhancing the reliability of the ERCOT grid, as well as multi-­?state grids outside ERCOT areas of operation in Texas. Study areas of innovation in the electric market in Texas, including advancements in energy storage and efficient power dispatch to support use of renewable power, and consider options to promote their effective use in Texas.
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce, 83rd Legislature, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, review the implementation of (a) SB 583, addressing efforts to reduce the Texas Universal Service Fund rate paid by consumers by promulgating a financial needs test that eliminates industry subsidies; (b) SB 567 and HB 1600, addressing the transition of investor owned water utility rate setting from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the Public Utility Commission.

Note:
Senator Kevin Eltife appointed Chair, 7/23/2014 (Appointment letter, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 7/23/2014).
No interim report was produced.

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