Public Utility Commission of Texas
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2013)|
|Public Utility Commission of Texas|
William B. Travis State Office Building, which includes the offices of the Public Utility Commission of Texas
|Legal status||instrument of legislation|
|Purpose/focus||to provide statewide regulation of the rates and services of electric and telecommunications utilities|
|Region served||Texas, United States|
|Parent organization||State Government of Texas|
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) is a state agency that regulates the state’s electric and telecommunication utilities, implements respective legislation, and offers customer assistance in resolving consumer complaints.
In 1975, the Texas Legislature enacted the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) and created the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to provide statewide regulation of the rates and services of electric and telecommunications utilities. Roughly twenty years later, the combined effects of significant Texas legislation in 1995 and the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 resulted in competition in telecommunication’s wholesale and retail services and the creation of a competitive electric wholesale market. Further changes in the 1999 Texas Legislature not only called for a restructuring of the electric utility industry but also created new legislation that ensured the protection of customers’ rights in the new competitive environment. Over the years, these various changes have dramatically re-shaped the PUC’s mission and focus, shifting from up-front regulation of rates and services to oversight of competitive markets and compliance enforcement of statutes and rules.
Since the introduction of competition in both the local and long distance telecommunications markets and the wholesale and retail electric markets, the PUC has also played an important role in overseeing the transition to competition and ensuring that customers receive the intended benefits of competition.
Additionally, the PUC regulates the rates and services of transmission and distribution utilities that operate where there is competition, investor-owned electric utilities where competition has not been chosen, and incumbent local exchange companies that have not elected incentive regulation.
The PUC’s mission is to “protect customers, foster competition, and promote high quality infrastructure.”
The agency is headquartered in the William B. Travis State Office Building at 1701 North Congress in Austin. In 2011, the former commission chairman, Barry Smitherman resigned to become a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, under appointment from Governor Rick Perry.
- Public Utility Commission of Texas Statutes, retrieved 2013-03-31
- Public Utility Regulatory Act. Title II, Texas Utilities Code (PDF, has a total of 458 pages), enacted in 1997 and effective September 1, 2011 as amended, retrieved 2013-03-31
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