Author Archives: admin

SB 559: Support Removing Ambiguity from Gross Receipts Tax Code


Overview of SB 559 by Hancock

  • SB 559 strikes the word “local” from several portions of Section 182 of the Tax Code to clarify that a seller of utility services, such as a retail electric provider (REP) is subject to the tax, even if the seller is not physically located in the market it serves.

AECT Supports SB 559

  • This legislation reflects the way the tax is presently assessed, and removed unnecessary ambiguity from the Tax Code.

Click here to download a PDF of this issue paper

EPRI and DOE Release First Phase of Comprehensive EMP Study


The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently released its first set of findings regarding the potential impact of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) on the electric grid. The findings are part of a comprehensive, three-year research project, begun in April 2016, to evaluate the potential impacts of a high-altitude EMP disruption. The first phase of the report was released on February 20, 2017.

EPRI is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the study, and working closely with the national laboratories, the Defense Thread Reduction Agency and others in the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the electric industry to inform the development of the report.

Overview of Latest Activity

The first phase of the report specifically studied the potential thermal impact of a high-altitude EMP detonation on bulk-power electric transformers.

The findings suggest that the collapse of the electric grid due to an EMP causing widespread failure of transformers is unlikely. Out of tens of thousands of bulk-power transformers in the U.S., EPRI and DOE found that only 3 to 14 transformers would be at risk of thermal damage by a high-altitude EMP, depending on the location of EMP detonation.

What’s Next

EPRI and DOE will next study the immediate, short-term impact of an EMP attack on transmission infrastructure, including transformers and control houses. EPRI and DOE will also study the cumulative effect of an EMP attack on the interconnected components; studying the components separately is necessary to allow for that step to continue.

Future phases of the report will also include mitigation measures for the transformers that were affected, based on the modeling.

What it Means

The additional research to be conducted by EPRI and DOE are necessary to determine the likely impact of an EMP attack on electric systems. If an EMP attack is shown to cause a widespread, long-term outage, the study will determine what steps utilities could take to limit the damage and allow for grid recovery.

The EPRI and DOE research is expected to be completed in early 2019, with at least 10 quarterly updates and reports released in the interim.

Staffers Ask: What does [______] mean?


“Staffers Ask” is an occasional feature where we attempt to answer burning questions from the Capitol on electricity issues. Got a question? Email

The business of producing, delivering and selling electricity is extraordinarily complex, with constant engineering and economic considerations that inform decisions by market participants.

As with any technical industry, ours is prone to an alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations. AECT has developed a glossary to help when learning about the issues that face electric businesses.

Download the glossary here, or scroll below to view it online.

For even more detail, visit ERCOT’s glossary here.

Continue reading

Inside the charts: Prices available in the competitive market today well below the last regulated rates


This chart, comparing offers available in the competitive market to the last regulated price, is one of AECT’s most viewed and used sets of data. We’ve published some version of it periodically since 2007.

Market Offers Comparison June16 to Dec01Click to enlarge in a new tab

We created this chart to create a relatively direct comparison between what customers had available just before the market opened in January 2002, and what price they can find on the market today. That’s why we averaged all the offers available on Power to Choose where you can get a locked-in, all-in rate for a full year, since that’s similar in concept to a regulated rate. The lowest available offer of that type is shown, along with month-to-month variable offers, to provide a sense of what else is available.

More Than Electricity Prices
The competitive market has brought significant innovation in retail products. Today, customers can choose plans selling 100% renewable generation, time-of-use prices that fit their lifestyles, rewards and rebate-based products and many others. The PUC is studying ways to improve Power to Choose, but the site does allow you to narrow down your choices, to help you find the right retail electric provider (REP) and plan.

Questions to Consider When Choosing Electric Service
For customers who haven’t shopped for electricity in a while, or for those who are new to a competitive area of Texas, here’s a useful checklist of questions to ask. Also, don’t hesitate to contact your current REP to see if there’s a product available that better fits your needs.

  • Do you want your electricity to be from renewable resources?
  • Do you want a fixed or variable price?
  • How long will the contract be, and is there a cancellation fee?
  • Will there be a deposit? How much?
  • How long has the REP been operating?
  • How is the REP’s customer service?
  • Does the REP offer sign-up incentives or rewards programs?
  • Does the REP offer information or tools to help you manage your electricity use?
  • Does the REP offer additional programs or discounts that you might be eligible for?
  • Is the REP involved in your community?


AECT Adds Policy Expertise With New Hires


AUSTIN, Texas – The Association of Electric Companies of Texas announced today the addition of two new policy directors to strengthen the trade association’s leadership on issues facing the electric industry. Erika Akpan and Scott Hutchinson will join AECT this spring.

“After talking with many outstanding candidates, I believe Erika and Scott bring exceptional knowledge of the Capitol, as well as strong histories of legislative leadership,” said Julia Rathgeber, President and CEO of AECT. “This association has a strong reputation with Texas’ regulators and elected officials, and I look forward to furthering that tradition with our new team.”

Since September 2014, Akpan has served as Regulatory and Business Affairs Advisor to House Speaker Joe Straus. She previously worked as Legislative Director for State Senator John Carona, and as Policy Analyst for the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce. She also has significant experience with the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security.

Hutchinson has been Chief of Staff for State Senator Charles Perry since 2012, advising on a wide array of policy issues and leading Senator Perry’s Texas office, as well as his House office prior to being elected to the Senate. He previously worked in the office of Governor Rick Perry, and for State Senator Brian Birdwell.

“AECT is committed to educating leaders and stakeholders about each aspect of the electric industry in Texas,” said Rathgeber. “We’re adding significant experience through these hires, and I believe we’re strongly positioned to represent our member companies in Austin effectively, with integrity.”

Julia Rathgeber to be new President and CEO of AECT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 18, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – The Association of Electric Companies of Texas Board of Directors today announced that Julia Rathgeber has been hired as President and CEO, effective February 1, 2016. Rathgeber replaces John W. Fainter, Jr. who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“After an extensive statewide search, the AECT Board of Directors believes Julia Rathgeber is the best person to lead our association forward as our industry enters a period of great change,” said Parker McCollough, Vice President, NRG and AECT Board Chairman. “Julia will bring an extraordinarily high level of leadership experience and vision to AECT that will serve our members well.”

With more than two decades of experience in state government, Julia has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Greg Abbott since January 2015. She was appointed Texas Commissioner of Insurance by Gov. Rick Perry from 2013 – 2015 and previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy for Lt. Governor David Dewhurst from 2003-2013. Julia has also served at the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Senate.

“I am excited at the opportunity to lead an association that represents such a significant, valuable and dynamic sector of the Texas economy. AECT has a sterling reputation for integrity at the capitol that I look forward to building upon in the future,” said Rathgeber. “I am forever grateful to Gov. Abbott, Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and so many other great Texas public servants for the opportunities and experiences that I have been provided during my career in state government.”