The Future of the
Public Utility Commission in Texas
- Fiscal Impact
- Chapter 1: Rate Regulation
- PUC should streamline its process for handling contested cases.
- PUC should modify its staff participation in contested cases.
- PUC should establish a system for identifying and monitoring competition in telecommunications markets.
- Chapter 2: Setting and Enforcing Standards
- PUC should ensure that it maintains appropriate minimum standards for all telecommunications and electric industries suring their transition to a deregulated market.
- The impact of deregulation on the state's gross tax receipts should be examined.
- PUC should develop a comprehensive educational program for electric and telephone service providers.
- PUC's Customer Protection and Enforcement Division should be conolidated with other agency audit functions. PUC should take steps to improve its audit process.
- Public Utility Regulatory Act of 1995 should be amended to strengthen PUC's enforcement powers.
- Chapter 3: Ensuring Universal Access
- PUC should examine additional means of incrasing phone service to low-income Texans.
- PUC should seek legislative direction on its oversight of the Universal Service Fund.
- PUC should ensure that electric utility companies maintain and "obligation to serve" all Texas electric consumers after deregulation.
- Chapter 4: Consumer Affairs, Consumer Education, and Public Information
- PUC should develop a comprehensive Consumer Education Plan to help Texans make informed decisions in a deregulated utility market.
- PUC should reorganize its consumer affairs functions to concentrate responsibility for consumer inquiries and education under a single manager.
- PUC should take a more active role in addressing and resolving consumer complaints.
- PUC should make better use of complaint information to support its regulatory and education functions.
- Chapter 5: Alternative Dispute Resolution
- PUC should increase its use of alternative dispute resolution techniques.
- The Public Utility Regulatory Act should be amended to ensure the continued participation of the Office of the Public Utility Counsel in PUC proceedings.
- Chapter 6: Mission and Structure in a Changing Environment
- PUC's governing statutes should be amended to better reflect its changing mission.
- PUC should adjust its organizational structure to provide it with more coordination and flexibility.
- PUC should improve its staff development and retention programs to make the best use of its human resources.
- PUC should take appropriate steps to expand and support its role as an objective "information broker" through strong information and document management.
- During the transition to deregulation, PUC should establish effective communication and employee involvement techniques.
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Austin, Texas 78711
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