Gov. Perry Orders Public Information Campaign for Power Consumers
Executive Order Also Requires Agency Conservation and Addresses Diversification of Energy Sources
With utility costs on the rise, Gov. Rick Perry today issued an Executive Order that will require a public information campaign aimed at ensuring consumers are aware of choices when picking their electricity provider. The order also requires state agencies to implement energy conservation measures and expedites the permitting process for electric generation facilities, recognizing that over-reliance on natural gas has driven up the cost of electric power.
"This executive order will help empower Texas ratepayers to find the best price available to power their homes and businesses," Perry said. "With energy demands continuing to rise in the state and the sharp increase in the costs of natural gas in recent years, it is imperative that consumers not only have choices in the marketplace, but that the state undertake conservation measures. And ultimately, in order to keep prices low, we must diversify energy sources for the generation of power."
Texas is a leader in developing wind energy sources and clean coal technologies, which should reduce the state's dependence on natural gas to produce electricity, Perry added.
"There is no reason it should take more than six months for a state agency to resolve a permitting dispute concerning an electric generation facility," Perry said. "This executive order reduces red tape, increases conservation, and empowers consumers as they choose their electric provider. It's the right approach to rising prices."
The Executive Order directs:
* State agencies to submit, by Dec. 1, energy conservation plans to the Governor's Office and the Legislative Budget Board.
* State agencies to submit quarterly reports, beginning April 1, 2006, on whether energy conservation goals have been met and outlining new conservation ideas.
* The Public Utility Commission (PUC) to begin a consumer education campaign advising electric customers of the retail electric provider choices and assuring consumers that service will remain reliable if a customer switches to a competitive electric provider.
* The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to expedite the processing of environmental permit applications to use Texas' natural resources to generate electrical power while also protecting the public health and environment.
* The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) to expedite hearings of contested applications for permits for electric generating facilities.
Perry said the directive to SOAH would cut in half, from one year to six months, the amount of time it takes the state to resolved contested applications for electric generating permits.
A complete copy of the executive order is available on the governor's website, www.governor.state.tx.us.