AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation today released a new policy perspective, Sunset Recommendations Would Increase Regulations on Texas' Electricity Market.

 The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission will vote tomorrow on recommendations in its Staff Report on the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) which would quadruple the PUC's administrative penalty authority to $100,000 violation per day and authorize the PUC to issue emergency cease-and-desist orders.

 "The Staff Report presents no evidence of misconduct or violations within the electricity market to justify its recommendations," said Bill Peacock, Vice President for Research and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom.

 The report finds that as Texas struggles with the issue of reliability, the evidence clearly supports less intervention by government is needed, not more. The increased fines and emergency cease-and-desist authority proposed in the Staff Report will increase reliability problems by creating even more regulatory risk within the Texas electricity market, one of the main problems the market faces today.

 "Calls to ‘fix' Texas' electricity market with more government intervention won't help," says Peacock. "It might actually make electricity more expensive for consumers, reduce competition, and harm current efforts to increase reliability."

If the 12 members of the Sunset Commission vote to include the staff recommendations in its final report on the PUC, they will then be included in the PUC's sunset legislation to be considered by the Texas Legislature.

 "The sunset process was turned upside down when the state agency tasked with ‘identifying and eliminating waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government' instead started heaping more regulations on Texas businesses and higher costs on Texas consumers," says Peacock.

 Bill Peacock is Vice President of Research and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.