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The Electric Competition Debate in...Texas

Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1998

reductions are to be had.

"We recognize that and use it as a bargaining chip," McClellan says. "If you get this, this is what we need for reductions."

Joseph F. Schuler Jr. is senior associate editor with Public Utilities Fortnightly.

PUC Rulemaking

Excerpts From a Work in Progress

A NEW PUC RULE on the calculation, rendering, and form of certain electric bills would change and simplify the way information is displayed on the monthly statements issued by electric utilities.

"[D]istribution unbundling reports would require utilities to file an annual report relating to the number and kinds of electric meters in use, generation mix and emissions, and the numbers and kinds of customer services.

"[C]ost separation would require electric utilities to separate costs of electric service into functional categories consisting of electricity production, electricity delivery, and the provision of related services (em metering and billing services, customer services, and energy services (em to electric customers.

"This rulemaking proceeding has three objectives¼ to separate the costs of electric service by function so the commission can monitor the cost of service components¼ to begin the process of removing regulation from those services and markets which are sufficiently competitive¼ [and] to enhance public awareness of electricity production and delivery costs.

"Is an exemption for small utilities appropriate? ¼ Should the commission and utilities conduct customer education efforts before unbundled electric bills are distributed?

"[T]he purpose of the reporting requirement relating to generation mix and emissions is to capture (em to an accuracy of approximately one-half percent (em a utility's annual generation mix and emissions, so that customers who would like this information may have access to it.

"The proposed new sections relating to electric billing and cost separation are likely to increase the cost to the utilities...A rough estimate of the annual cost for utilities that must substantially revise customer billing and cost accounting procedures is from $20,000 to $2.5 million, depending on the size of the utility." Project No. 16536, Rulemaking on the Unbundling of Electric Distribution Facilities and Functions, Texas PUC.

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