by Wendell Bell, Grid Monitor
Source – Grid Monitor
Posted 05/09/2019

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at reducing regulatory lag for recovering the costs of new electric generation facilities by non-ERCOT utilities.

House Bill 1397 by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and sponsored by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) authorizes a utility operating outside of ERCOT to file an application with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for recovery of generation-related costs through a rate rider. While an application may be approved before the utility places a power plant in service, the rider may not take effect before the date the facility begins providing service to the utility’s customers. Further, if the generation investment is greater than $200 million, the utility must initiate a comprehensive base rate proceeding no later than eighteen months after the date the rider takes effect. The bill also extends the expiration date of other rate case requirements for non-ERCOT utilities from 2023 to 2031.

Sen. Nichols explained that the senate committee substitute removes language that provided for considering the effects of load growth when calculating a generation rate rider.Nichols said the change was requested by consumers in affected areas and is meant to give the PUC the flexibility to make whatever adjustments it deems necessary.

The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.