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Summary: HB 1973 would task the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality to set state standards for "fire flow" which is the amount of pressure required for serviceable fire hydrants. Municipalities would not be required to conform to these standards if their own minimum requirement is different. Private water suppliers in extra-territorial jurisdictions would have to at least provide the lesser of the two levels of pressure if there is a discrepancy between the TCEQ standards and the standards set by the municipality they belong to.
Analysis: This legislation gives investor owned retail public utilities the flexibility of conforming to either the TCEQ fire flow standard, or the municipality fire flow standard, whichever is lower. This strikes a reasonable balance between ensuring that the rate payers get adequate service to protect their property in the event of a fire, and allows the utility the flexibility of conforming to the most reasonable standard where there is a discrepancy between standards set by different levels of government. TPPA supports this legislation because it protects personal property rights for utility ratepayers and sets reasonable regulations at the appropriate level of government.