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Texas Performance Review
The Future of the Public Utility Commission in Texas

Light Years:

The Future of the
Public Utility Commission in Texas

  • Introduction
  • Fiscal Impact
  • Background

  • 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.

  • Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgements

If you have questions or comments on Light Years, or if you would like to order a printed copy of the report, call 1-800-531-5441 ext. 3-2694 toll-free, send e-mail to, or write:
Texas Performance Review
P.O. Box 13528
Austin, Texas 78711
There is a $3 charge for a printed copy of the report.

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