March 10, 2010
Hearings to review Cityís Competitive Matters Resolution
The City of Austinís Competitive Matters Resolution will be reviewed during public hearings that begin March 22, 2010. The Resolution identifies information related to the operation of Austin Energy which, if publicly released, could provide a potential advantage to competitors or prospective competitors. Such information, therefore, is not currently available to the public.
The hearings, hosted by and held during meetings of the Electric Utility Commission, will provide an opportunity for public comment and discussion. The Electric Utility Commission, a Council-appointed citizenís advisory board, will hold the first public hearing on March 22, 2010 at Town Lake Center, 721 Barton Springs Road. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.
Senate Bill 7, approved by the Texas Legislature in 1999, deregulated the retail electric utility industry in Texas. The law gave community-owned electric utilities and electric cooperatives (public utilities) the choice of opting into retail deregulation but did not require they do so. To date none of the 73 city-owned electric utilities in Texas and only one of the 75 electric cooperatives has opted into retail deregulation. Senate Bill 7 allowed public utilities in Texas to protect competitive information, regardless of whether the utility participates in retail deregulation.
The Competitive Matters Resolution was approved by City Council in 2001 and amended in 2005. It lists the types of information deemed competitive by Austin Energy. Examples include fuel and wholesale power contracts, maintenance schedules for generating plants, customer usage information, and market research studies, to name a few.
Public input on the Competitive Matters Resolution The Electric Utility Commission invites the public to participate in this review. Rules for the public input process, adopted by the Commission, are found at www.austinenergy.com. Those who wish to participate in the March 22 public hearing may submit comments and make three-minute or seven-minute presentations. Comments received before and during the hearing will be posted on the Austin Energy website.
The Commission will set subsequent hearings based on the number of comments received during the first hearing. Austin Energy staff will prepare responses to comments, as requested by the Commission, which will be posted by noon on the Friday before the second hearing, currently scheduled for April 19, 2010. The public will have the opportunity to make three-minute verbal comments during the second and any subsequent hearings. The Commission may issue supplemental rules for the second and third hearing based on the number of comments received. After the second hearing, it is anticipated that the Commission will direct Austin Energy staff to prepare a revised resolution incorporating revisions being considered by the Commission. The public will be invited to comment on that proposed revised resolution at the third hearing, which is currently scheduled to be May 17, 2010.
Once the hearings process is complete, the Electric Utility Commission will forward recommendations to the City Council.
Materials Visit Public Hearing on Competitive Matters Resolution for the following:
Rules for Electric Utility Commission hearings regarding possible amendments to the Competitive Matters Resolution
Schedule of Electric Utility Commission meetings and possible Competitive Matters Resolution public hearings
The Competitive Matters Resolution, which lists currently protected information
State law relating to exceptions to open meeting requirements and regarding the protection of competitive information by public power utilities
Presentation by Austin Energy staff at January 25, 2010 Electric Utility Commission meeting
Presentations and comments for Competitive Matters Resolution hearings may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed/delivered to Austin Energy, Competitive Matters Resolution, 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704. Those with questions about the public input process may call 322-6450.