HB 2264 adds a new subsection of the Gas Utility Regulatory Act that will allow retail gas distribution systems to create energy conservation programs.
Below we describe the final outcomes of some of the major bills from the 88th Regular Session relating to gas utility issues, with descriptions of bills that passed and those that didn’t.
· PASSED: HB 2263, by Rep. Drew Darby, adds a new subsection to the Gas Utility Regulatory Act that would allow retail gas distribution systems to create energy conservation programs. SB 2263 also creates rules for rate recovery outside a typical ratemaking proceeding. Sen. Bryan Hughes authored the Senate companion, SB 1050.
· FAILED: House Bill 2128, by Rep. Ernest Bailes, was intended to limit price gouging on natural gas sales during declared disasters. It also was another bill arising from legislative concerns over high natural gas prices during Winter Sorm Uri. The House Business and Industry Committee conducted a hearing on HB 2128 on April 17, but the legislation proceeded no further.
· FAILED: House Bill 2262, by Rep. Drew Darby, would have allowed gas utilities to include “alternative gas” in their portfolios and recover the costs of purchasing it. HB 2262 also would have provided for a presumption that alternative gas costs included in rates are prudent, reasonable, and necessary. HB 2262 made it through most of the legislative process before dying in the Senate. The Senate companion, SB 1049 by Sen. Bryan Hughes, never received a hearing.
· FAILED: SB 1701 and HB 4788, by Sen. Nathan Johnson and Rep. Rafael Anchia respectively, would have mandated changing the agency name of the Railroad Commission of Texas. Neither bill received any traction during the 88th Regular Session.
· FAILED: SB 1501 and HB 4099, by Sen. Joan Huffman and Rep. Greg Bonnen respectively, would have allocated tax dollars to pay off securitization borrowing costs assessed by gas utilities to pay for fuel charges from Winter Storm Uri. A similar provision in a supplemental budget bill, Senate Bill 30, also failed to win approval.