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TEC Reviews 84th Legislative Session

June 5, 2015

Texas Electric Cooperatives' Government Relations team advocated for electric cooperatives during the 84th Legislative Session, which adjourned June 1. Bills of interest to the industry that made it through the legislative process and onto the governor's desk are:

SB 562—Allows cooperatives to purchase annual permits to haul oversized utility poles rather than having to obtain 30-, 60- or 90-day permits.

HB 2187/SB 513—Requires metal-recycling entities to follow strengthened requirements to combat metal theft.

SB 1812—Creates a database of entities with the power of eminent domain and requires annual reports to the state comptroller.

SB 933—Stops entities from interconnecting with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas if it would enable additional power to be imported or exported, unless the entity obtains a Public Utility Commission certificate.

HB 1535—States that the PUC will ease regulations on cost recovery, rate adjustments and certificates for non-ERCOT investor-owned utilities.

SB 932—Allows the PUC to hire outside counsel for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings on matters relating to Entergy, Xcel and SWEPCO until 2023.

HB 801—Makes the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department liable for the destruction of cooperative infrastructure that occurs during a prescribed burn that is the result of a wrongful or negligent act or omission.

SB 774—Extends periodic rate adjustments for regulated electric utilities and directs the PUC to conduct a study and issue a report to the Legislature by January 15, 2017, analyzing possible alternative ratemaking methods for regulated electric utilities.

SB 523—Creates a sunset review process for Texas' river authorities regarding governance, management, operating structure and compliance with legislative requirements.