After State Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall) announced this week that he would not be seeking re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, Capitol sources have suggested the outgoing lawmaker may be looking to lead the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT)—a lobby group he has been closely aligned with this session.
As the name suggests, AECT describes itself as an advocacy group for electric companies in Texas, many of whom found themselves under the microscope earlier this year as blackouts swept the state during the February winter storm.
It’s an industry that Paddie has become increasingly familiar with during this time in the Legislature.
As the chair of the House State Affairs Committee, Paddie’s committee saw much of the legislation in response to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and their failure to properly manage Texas’ electric grid—leading to sky-high electric prices for those lucky enough to have power during the storm. Most notably, the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT, approved a price of $9,000 per megawatt hour during the height of the winter storms, which resulted in high wholesale prices of electricity to providers and consumers on wholesale variable rate plans.
But while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Senate repeatedly attempted to pass legislation to retroactively lower electric prices to energy providers, the attempts were killed by Texas House Leadership—to include Paddie.
Patrick even accused Paddie and the House State Affairs Committee of being soft on then-PUC Chair Arthur D’Andrea, saying, “The Texas Senate stood for individuals. … The House stood for big business.”
While Paddie’s announcement that he would retire from the Legislature came as a surprise to many when it was announced this week, sources in the Capitol say there has been discussion on Paddie filling the vacant presidential position in the AECT as early as June of this year.
As of publishing, Paddie’s office did respond for comment.