Archive for April 2008
The PUCT’s necessity to formally docket an investigation to compel production of company information required for the PUCT to pursue an enforcement action is an interesting precedent…
By R.A. DYER; Fort Worth Star-Telegram Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — The state’s biggest energy provider — Energy Future Holdings, formerly TXU Corp. — has come under investigation by state regulators, accused of providing false information to the agency.
The Texas Public Utility Commission on Wednesday voted to open a formal inquiry after the company’s wholesale energy unit, Luminant, refused to release documents related to incorrect information it gave to the state’s power grid in 2006, according to a PUC spokesman.
PROJECT NO. 35533 PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS PUBLIC NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR COMMENTS ON ISSUES RELATED TO PRE-PAID SERVICE
The staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (Staff) is interested in taking comments for Project Number 35533. Staff requests that interested persons file comments in response to the following questions regarding pre-pay service that do not use a Customer Prepayment Device or System as defined in PUC SUBST. R. 25.498, relating to Retail Electric Service Using a Customer Prepayment Device or System:
1) What changes to the current PUC Substantive Rules and/or ERCOT Protocols and Guides would help to facilitate the development of pre-pay products in Texas? Please specify which changes would be the most helpful.
2) What changes to the current PUC Substantive Rules and/or ERCOT Protocols and Guides would help to ensure that pre-pay applicants and customers have the proper information and customer protections? Please specify which changes would be the most necessary.
3) PUC SUBST. R. 25.474, relating to Selection of Retail Electric Provider sets forth requirements for the selection of a retail electric provider including the required documentation for enrollment.
a. Should there be different criteria for enrollment of pre-pay customers than are specified in the current rule?
b. Should the rights for the three day rescission period and switch notification apply when a customer has made a pre-payment?
4) PUC SUBST. R. 25.475, relating to Information Disclosures to Residential and Small Commercial Customers sets forth requirements for information disclosures to customers. Should there be different requirements for disclosures to applicants or customers of pre-pay products, particularly relating to estimating consumption for prepayments and truing up estimated consumption to actual consumption?
5) Should pre-pay providers be permitted to request deposits from customers? If so, should the allowed amount of deposit be different than that specified in PUC SUBST. R. 25.478, relating to Credit Requirements and Deposits?
6) Should pre-pay providers be permitted to charge cancellation, termination, or deactivation fees?
7) Should the rules set forth guidelines for the minimum or maximum terms of products? If so, what are appropriate terms?
8) PUC SUBST. R. 25.479, relating to Issuance and Format of Bills and 25.480, relating to Bill Payments and Adjustments set forth requirements for billing and payments. Should there be different requirements for the billing and payments of pre-pay products? What are appropriate parameters for estimating usage and true-ups for pre-pay products? If a REP should be able to offer a bill more frequently, how should PUC SUBST. R. 25.479(b)(l) be modified?
9) Should a REP be permitted to estimate a customer’s consumption in connection with pre- paid services?
a. If not, are there any special instances when a REP should be able to bill a customer using estimated consumption? (e.g., when the REP does not have a meter reading from the TDSP, or when a consolidated bill is prepared for multiple ESIIDs)
b. If a REP estimates a customer’s consumption to issue a bill for prepaid service before receiving the historical usage, and then finds out that the historical usage shows much higher consumption than was estimated, should the REP be permitted to issue a corrected bill?
10) PUC SUBST. R. 25.483, relating to Disconnection of Service sets forth the requirements for disconnecting customers for non-payments including the timing of notices and disconnect for non-payment requests. Should there be different requirements for the disconnections of customers on pre-pay products?
11) Are there rule requirements other than those mentioned in the questions above that should be different for REPs offering prepay products?
12) Are there additional requirements, such as additional customer protections or record retention requirements, necessary for REPs who are offering pre-pay products? For example, how can prepay service best accommodate customers receiving energy assistance?
Responses may be filed by submitting 16 copies to the commission’s Filing Clerk, Public Utility Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress Avenue, P.O. Box 13326, Austin, Texas 78711-3326 by May 26, 2008. All responses should reference Project Number 35533. This notice is not a formal of notice of proposed rulemaking, but the parties’ responses to the questions will assist the commission in developing a commission policy or determining the necessity for a related rulemaking. Questions concerning this notice should be referred to Christine Wright, Competitive Markets Division, at 5 12.936.7376 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By R.A. DYER, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 April 2008
AUSTIN – Texas ratepayers could be on the hook for $3 billion to $6.4 billion to build new transmission lines so wind-power turbines can connect to the state power grid, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday.
The merger of Strategic Energy with Direct Energy’s existing commercial and industrial (C&I;) business unit, Direct Energy Business, will create a business supplying almost 55 TWh of electricity and gas to customers which will make it a top three supplier of energy to the C&I; market in North America and enable the achievement of synergies.
“Acquiring Strategic Energy is core to Direct Energy’s strategy of building material business in commercial and industrial energy markets,” said Direct Energy Chairman and CEO, Deryk King. “This acquisition makes us a top three energy retailer in the business market and, following our recent purchase of Rockyview Energy, we are well positioned to pursue further aggressive organic growth across North America.”
Strategic Energy is one of the United States’ largest competitive electricity suppliers to the C&I; market with over 26,000 customers across 11 states. It represents an excellent fit for Direct Energy Business which has operations across a number of the same markets as well as in Canada.
Direct Energy also brings a gas business to the combined enterprise, a business services capability, an upstream asset portfolio and strong energy management skills. The complementary footprint, portfolio, skills, culture and management philosophy will enable Direct Energy to accelerate its growth plans through immediate scale benefits post integration and further cross-selling opportunities in a competitive C&I; market where size is an important driver of profitability.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in June 2008.
About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America’s largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 22 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com.
About Strategic Energy Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., Strategic Energy is a leading supplier of retail electricity in competitive markets. Strategic Energy is licensed to serve customers in deregulated energy markets including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C. Strategic Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy (NYSE: GXP).
For additional information, contact:
Direct Energy® is a subsidiary of Centrica plc. All rights reserved. Centrica was created following the demerger of British Gas plc in 1997 and is now a leading supplier of energy and related services. To read more about Centrica plc please visit www.centrica.com.