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2 Document(s) [ Subject: ]

Committee: Senate Business and Commerce
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Alternative energy | Broadband technology | Building codes | Consumer credit | Consumer Credit Commissioner, Office of | Credit service organizations | Droughts | Electric meters | Electric power plants | Electric Reliability Council of Texas | Electric utilities | Electric utility deregulation | Electricity supplies | Electricity transmission and distribution | Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. | Homeowners insurance | Insurance, Texas Department of | Job training programs | Lifeline | Municipally-owned utilities | Occupational licenses | Rural areas | Subprime lending | Telecommunications | Telecommunications deregulation | Texas Windstorm Insurance Association | Universal Service Fund | Water and wastewater utility rates and charges | Workforce |
Library Call Number: L1836.83 B963
Session: 82nd R.S. (2011)
Online version: View report [222 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the impact of drought, regulatory changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and changing market conditions on Texas' electrical market. Make recommendations, if needed to ensure continued access to reliable and affordable electricity. *
2. Assess the impact of extreme drought conditions on electric generation capacity.
3. Identify those regions of Texas that will be most affected by a lack of capacity.
4. Analyze response plans and make recommendations to improve and expedite those plans.
5. Study and make recommendations for workforce training programs in Texas to ensure that such programs meet business and worker needs. Specifically, study whether such programs target economic growth areas and future workforce needs of the health care, skilled trades, construction, manufacturing, aerospace, and information technology industries and help retain workers in those trades and fields.
6. Study the state's approach to licensing and regulation of occupations to ensure protection of public welfare, trust, health, and safety and eliminate unnecessary, overly restrictive, or anti-competitive regulation. Review guidelines and other states' approaches for determining when regulation is necessary and make recommendations for improving Texas' regulatory system.
7. Conduct a broad review of the Texas homeowners insurance market and make recommendations to improve transparency and consumer education, ensure fair practices, and lower rates. Specifically, consider the following:
  • Compare Texas' homeowners insurance premiums with those of other states and identify the factors underlying Texas' premium levels and recommend steps that the Legislature may take to reduce homeowners' rates, if appropriate;
  • Study strategies that increase awareness of state insurance resources to help consumers compare rates and coverage among various insurance providers
  • Study the relationship between insurance premiums and construction costs, especially as associated with recovery from natural disasters, to ensure that consumers are treated fairly;
  • Review the use by insurers, in rating and underwriting decisions, of customer inquiries regarding the general terms or conditions of, or coverage offered under, an insurance policy.
8. Study the relationship between city governments and municipally-owned utilities, including any duplicative or redundant functions, the amounts and justifications required for transfer payments between the entities, and the benefits and disadvantages of alternative governance structures.
9. Analyze the state of the telecommunications market in Texas, including the costs and benefits of full deregulation of the market; the impact and viability of the Texas Universal Service Fund and Provider of Last Resort requirements; the impact of SB 980, Regular Session, 82nd Legislature, relating to telecommunications regulation and rulemaking; the availability of broadband; telecommunications service discounts; and rights-­of-way charges. Make recommendations to enhance services, support the industry, and ensure adequate and affordable access for consumers.
10. Review current and pending ERCOT protocols as they apply to all generation technology, and identify those protocols that may provide operational, administrative, or competitive advantages to any specific generation by fuel type. Consider the impact any revisions to the protocols may have on grid reliability and electricity rates. Make recommendations for revisions or statutory changes to limit distortions in the Texas electrical market.
11. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce, 82nd Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, review the implementation of HB 2592 and HB 2594 relating to payday lending, and make recommendations relating to consistency and coordination with local ordinances and federal law.
12. Study whether advanced meters, or smart meters, that have been, and will be, installed in Texas have harmful effects on health. Report findings on whether an independent testing company perform an analysis on the safety of advanced meters should be commissioned and the appropriate organization to conduct such a study.
Committee: House Regulated Industries
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Accounting | Broadband technology | Economic development | Electric utility deregulation | Emergency management | Internet | Public Utility Regulatory Act | Telecommunications | Telecommunications infrastructure | Telecommunications taxes and fees |
Library Call Number: L1836.80 R265
Session: 80th R.S. (2007)
Online version: View report [17 pages  File size: 8,483 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Examine the impact of broadband Internet access on economic development, focusing on potential updates that would create incentives to help spur investment by network providers across a variety of platforms. Recommend changes to Texas law that would emphasize economic development through policy formation.
2. Study and assess the ability of entities regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to meet the communication needs of the Texas military forces during declared emergencies, including an assessment of current capabilities and technological compatibility among service providers throughout the state.
3. Research the effects of both wholesale and retail competition in the Texas electric market.
4. Study and review information on the Internet and other communications services, and how Texas can best prepare for potential changes to Internet and communications services, and infrastructure demands. Recommend policy changes to encourage greater infrastructure investment while ensuring the continued growth and development of the Internet. Study the current state and local communications tax structure, including an analysis of the tax burdens imposed on consumers and providers of communications services.
5. Study and examine whether Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) should be adhered to under Chapter 66 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA), and review procedures for revenue audits.
6. Monitor agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction, including identifying possible ways to merge or streamline agency functions to produce long-term financial benefit to the state and better efficiency of the agencies.

* This represents an abstract of the report contents. Charge text is incomplete or unavailable.

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