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Bryant of Dallas and Ron Coleman of El Paso. These two freshman members both have great careers ahead of them as friends of the people. Similarly, we especially welcome to the State Senate Craig Washington of Houston and Ted Lyon of Mesquite, who will both tone up the debates of that body. The Republicans’ legislative strength dropped from eight to five senators and from 38 to 36 representatives. Lyon predicts there will be moves to lower interest rate ceilings and utility bills; Rep. Matt Garcia of San Antonio hopes that Clements’ wiretapping will be amended to prevent unconstitutional in vasions of privacy; there is some ground for hope that White will not be just another Briscoe. But the legislature continues to be a hogtied place, its members far too beholden to special-interest contributors, and it will Oke more than a few shifts for the better in the membership to change that. IV Nationally the Democrats \(while lamentably losing the governorship and control of the House, gained seven governors, and missed gains in the Senate by a few whiskers. The nuclear freeze won however you figure it, 60% of the people voting for it despite Reagan’s smear campaign against it. This election was not a sea change, but it was a clear message the politicians in Congress heard, whether the President did or not. The sky’s-the-limit military spendthrifts have been checked; so have the Reagan-led Strangelovians who seem to regard nuclear weapons as some kind of deity to which we must submit. In Texas as nationally, the American people have said, more or less No, we’re not the stingy jerks we’re sometimes made out to be, we do care about the poor, we do care about the unemployed, and we do care about the peace. By Jack Hopper THE BIG UTILITIES didn’t get rich and powerful by fighting or competing with each other. So the seven-year battle that Dallas’ two electric holding companies fought over “interconnection” a while back provided a unique spectacle. After manipulating half a dozen courts, agencies, and the U.S. Congress, they finally resolved the differences to their own satisfaction. But the settlement brings into question the ability of public agencies to safeguard the third party in these kinds of “private” conflicts the public interest. It was the public interest who emerged the loser in more than one way in this long, expensive fandango. Neither of the two companies, Texas erately picked the fight; wholesale customers municipalities and cooperatives complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission that C&SW was failing to operate with its four utility subsidiaries connected. That failure meant C&SW wasn’t complying with the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. The Act requires an electric holding company to connect its operating subsidiaries and have them exchange power. Although the complaint was filed in 1974, C&SW has never been in compliance since the Act was passed. It always operated its four utilities subsidiaries independently, in defiance of the requirement. The four utilities operate in three serves Corpus Christi and South Texas; Abilene and Central West Texas; Southwestern Electric Power Company Northern Louisiana and eastern Arkansas; and Public Service of Oklahoma homa. SWEPCO and PSO operate in the interstate Oklahoma system. CP&L and WTU serve the intrastate Texas system. Twelve utilities, private and public, generate power for the intrastate Texas area: Austin Municipal, Brownsville Municipal, South Texas and Medina Electric Cooperatives, City Public Service of San Antonio, Houston Lighting nicipal Power Agency \(TMPA, the electric systems of the cities of Bryan, Denton, Garland, and Greenville and the operating subsidiaries of the other holding company, Texas Utilities Company; and the two C&SW subsidiaries, CP&L and WTU. Five interstate utilities serve Texas and its neighboring states: Gulf States Southeast Texas, and Eastern Louisiana; two western-most Texas counties and Southern New Mexico; SWEPCO, serving Northeast Texas, Northern Louisiana and part of Arkansas; Southwestern Amarillo, the Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico; and Texas-New ing five separate and scattered areas in Texas and one in New Mexico. C&SW’s operations are tied together THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7 Politics dictates interchange decisions WHEN REGULATION FAILS The desires of HL&P and TU to preserve their exemptions from regulation under the Federal Power Act are not necessarily coterminous with the public interest. FERC Staff Comments in Doc. No . EL 79-8.