PUC chief gets tough on deception

By Dave Lieber, Dallas Morning News

Published February 20th, 2016

Donna Nelson, top electricity regulator in Texas, warned people from electric companies that maybe they shouldn’t get up and leave her meeting so fast.

“This is Donna,” she said, making sure everyone knew what was coming. “There’s no paper,” she added.

No paper memos? In government? No paper means spur of the moment.

“I’m fixin’ to give a talkin’ to some of the REPs, so you might want to stay here,” she said, using shorthand for retail electric providers.

Oh, boy. Then the Public Utility Commission chairwoman made unscheduled comments that could mark a turning point in the way electricity companies are allowed to conduct business in Texas. Nelson said during a public PUC meeting that some electricity companies “always find a way” around the agency’s best efforts to keep the marketplace honest and transparent.

Then she complained, “Whatever practice we put in place to try and end the confusion, then they find a way around that.”

She ordered up a plan to do something about it.

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