“Coal-Fired Plant’s $83M Rate Hike Axed By Texas Panel”
A Texas appellate court on Tuesday held that the Public Utility Commission of Texas was wrong to find that the Southwestern Electric Power Co. acted “prudently” when it continued to construct a coal-fired power plant in Arkansas even after the price of natural gas fell precipitously in 2010, and is not entitled to an $83 million rate increase.
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin sided with three groups — Texas Industrial Energy Consumers, Cities Advocating Responsible Deregulation and the Office of Public Utility Counsel — in holding that Southwestern Electric had not met the “high burden” of proving it was a prudent decision to press on. The panel wrote that under the standard it set out in its 1992 opinion in Gulf States Utility Co. v. PUCT, the commission should not have found in favor of Southwestern Electric because it failed to prove the utility was prudent through “an analysis of the decision after the fact through independent retrospective analyses.”
…Texas Industrial Energy Consumers is represented by Benjamin B. Hallmark and Rex VanMiddlesworth of Thompson & Knight LLP.