Last week, Governor Rick Perry's chief of staff Brandy Marty -- his newest appointee to the Public Utility Commission -- broke the deadlock between commissioners Donna Nelson and Ken Anderson over just how much intervention the electricity market needs right now. Both Nelson and Marty signaled their interest Friday in a "mandatory" reserve margin, or a set amount of generation capacity in the state. It wasn't made clear exactly how that margin would be enforced.
Nevertheless, analysts believe this is the long-expected first step toward a capacity market, a very un-free-market system in which load (that's you and me) subsidizes the operation and construction of power plants.
The differences between the two sound arcane, even semantical, and they could be. But if the financial services firm Barclays is right, the consequences will be made real to every Texan each time we get an electric bill. The projected cost to ratepayers has been pegged anywhere from a billion dollars to $5 billion per year. The devil will be in the details if and when it's hashed out.
Unfair Park reached out to commissioner Anderson, the odd man out here, and got him to expound on why he thinks "corporate welfare" is a bad deal for Texas.More »