In Texas, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUC) is charged with the regulation of public utilities in the state. The main aim of the PUC includes protecting customers, fostering competition, and promoting high quality infrastructure.
With respect to the electric utility, the PUC regulates the rates and terms for integrated utilities, intra-state transmission service, and distribution service. In addition, the PUC adopts and enforces rules relating to retail competition and renewable energy goal. The PUC also regulates the retail electric providers licensing and registration of power generation companies, power marketers, and aggregators. Further, the PUC provides the substantive rules applicable to telecommunications service providers and cable and video service providers.
The Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission) regulates the oil and natural gas industry, pipeline transporters, natural gas & hazardous liquid pipeline industry, natural gas utilities, the LP-gas industry, and coal & uranium surface mining operations. The Commission through research & education promotes the use of LP-gas as an alternative fuel. In addition, the Commission through its RRC Energy Conservation Plan helps to reduce the energy expenditures.
The functions of the Commission include:
- examining and determining the extent to which viable competition exists in the Texas natural gas pipeline industry from the wellhead to the burner tip;
- assessing the effectiveness of current laws, and regulations; and
- making recommendations to meet the market competition and for any necessary changes.
The most important initiative of the Commission was the creation of the Texas Energy Planning Council. The council was to advise the Governor on the balanced plan to provide the energy needed to fuel Texas future economic growth and prosperity. Accordingly, the Texas Energy Plan was designed by the council to strengthen the energy sector of Texas. The chairman of the Commission serves as chair of the Council.
Further, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) protects the state’s human and natural resources. TCEQ aims at attaining clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste. TCEQ was formerly known as the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC). TCEQ, through Memorandum of Understanding, establishes its jurisdiction over oil field wastes generated in connection with oil and gas exploration, development, and production.