(R-TX) on the last day of the 104th Congress introduced legislation, H.R. 4297, "The Consumers Electric Power Act," to bring competition to the nation's electric industry. DeLay said competition would lower electric bills by 30 to 40 percent, and that the typical American family would save about $30 a month, or $360 a year.
DeLay's bill would guarantee every consumer the right to choose their electric service providers by January 1, 1998, and would ban exit fees unless freely negotiated. The Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935 and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 would be repealed once competition is achieved.
H.R. 4297 would bar any right to stranded-cost recovery, however. According to Tony Rudy, DeLay's spokesman, stranded costs were not an issue when competition was introduced to AT&T. Delay believes consumers would be better off not paying them.
DeLay's is not the only bill on electric competition that will be introduced in the 105th Congress. "I am especially proud to join two of my colleagues who will be taking the lead on this issue: the Subcommittee chairman, Dan Schaefer (R-CO), who recognized the vast benefits of competition in this industry and introduced an excellent bill, and Commerce chairman Tom Bliley
(R-VA), who is making this his highest priority for the 105th Congress," DeLay said. Rep. Ed Markey
(D-MA) has also introduced a bill, and the Department Of Energy plans to unveil its own soon.