OKLAHOMA CITY - Seven members of the Oklahoma State Legislature are in Houston to hear presentations and participate in tours hosted by three Texas companies.
The Legislators are members of the Joint Electric Utility Task Force. The Houston trip is designed to see first-hand how electricity is traded.
During the upcoming legislative session, the task force members will serve as the "eyes and ears" for the entire legislature regarding technical issues as Oklahoma moves toward electric choice by the year 2002, as called for in Senate Bill 500.
Senate Bill 500, the Electric Restructuring Act, was authored by Senator Kevin Easley (D-Wagoner Co.), and was signed by Governor Frank Keating this year.
In Houston, the task force members, electric industry and association representatives will visit active trading environments to see trading floors and control rooms in action. Their questions will be answered regarding the reliable supply of electricity which can be provided in an open marketplace.
"It is important that we be mindful of the rapid changes occurring in today's marketplace as we establish tomorrow's policies," said Senator Easley. "We hope sessions such as this will help us gain a better understanding of current electric restructuring activities."
The task force's agenda includes a presentation on Wholesale Trading in Oklahoma, an overview of other states' activities on retail electricity, and a discussion regarding serving residential customers. The group is also hearing a presentation by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on independent system operators. Afterwards they'll tour of the trading floor, meter lab, and smart house at Enron Corporation's headquarters.
On Tuesday, the group will take part in discussions led by Houston Industries, and will tour the company's control center. They will discuss Governor George Bush's electric restructuring bill, points of concern, and the ensuing Texas debate. The group will the tour the trading floor at NGC Corporation before returning to Oklahoma.
Members of the Joint Electric Utility Task Force attending the Houston trip are: Sen. Easley, Task Force Chairman; Rep. Larry Rice, Vice Chairman; Sen. Brooks Douglass; Sen. Sam Helton; Sen. Jerry Smith; Rep. Larry Ferguson; and Rep. Chris Hastings. Invited guests included representatives from various Oklahoma Companies, associations, and utilities.