Archive for April 2009

SB265

In case you missed it yesterday, SB265 by Hinojosa was being heard on the Senate Floor.  Two amendments (one by Hinojosa, revamping the bill) were offered yesterday, before further discussion on the bill was postponed until today at 11 a.m.

CSHB 3245

was passed out of committee today during a lunch break during the House session. I have a copy of the bill, just email me.
 

AEP Files their Advanced Metering Deployment Plan…

See Docket 36928…The proposed monthly fee for both Texas Central and Texas North is $3.25 through October, 2013.
 
 

Violations for REPs that don’t even exist (anymore)…

Commission staff released two Notices of Violation yesterday related to last year’s REP failures.  As these two REPs are out of business, I suspect the Commission has no reason to expect payment.
 

Docket – 36926    Notice Of Violation By National Power Company Of PUC Subst. R. §25.107(i)(8), Related To Requirements For Reporting And For Changing The Terms Of A REP Certificate, §25.478(j)(2), Related To Refunding Of Deposits And Voiding Letter Of Guaranty, and §25.43(n)(7), Related To Transition Of Customer To POLR Service

 

The failure of National Power Company to notify the Commission and customers of its intent to cease operations and its failure to certify that customer deposits and/or prepayments had been refunded pursuant to P.U.C. Subst. R. 20.107(i)(8) is a Class C violation. The failures of the Company to refund customer deposits and/or prepayments within 30 days pursuant to P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.107(f)(2), 25.43(n)(7), and 25.487(j)(2) are Class A violations.   An administrative penalty of $1,824,000 is recommended based upon the following analysis:

 

The failure of NPC to notify the Commission and customers of its intent to cease operations and its failure to certify that customer deposits and/or prepayments had been refunded pursuant to P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.107(i)(8) is deemed a Class C violation. P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.8(b)(1) specifies that the maximum penalty for Class C violations is $1,000 per day. Three hundred twenty-nine days have elapsed from the date on which NPC ceased operations until the present day. The recommended penalty for this violation is $329,000.  The failure of to refund customer deposits and/or prepayments within 30 days pursuant to P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.107(f)(2), 25.43(n)(7), and 25.478(j)(2) is deemed to be a Class A violation. P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.8(b)(3) specifies that the maximum penalty for Class A violations is $25,000 per day. Staff is recommending a penalty of $5,000 for each day that the violations have continued. Two hundred ninety-nine days have elapsed from the date on which customer refunds should have been accomplished and the present day. The recommended penalty for this violation is $1,495,000.  Because NPC has failed to respond to Commission Staff’s requests for confirmation that customer deposits or prepayments have been returned to customers, the allegations in this memorandum are based on information and belief. Should NPC subsequently respond to Commission Staff s requests for information or appear at hearing, Commission Staff reserves the right to amend its penalty recommendation.
 
Docket – 36927 – Notice Of Violation By Pre-Buy Electric, L.L.C. Of PUC Subst. R. §25.107(f)(2), Related To Financial Standards Required For Customer Protection, §25.107(i)(8), Related To Requirements For Reporting And For Changing The Terms Of A REP Certificate §25.478(j)(2), Related To Refunding Of Deposits And Voiding Letter Of Guaranty, And §25.43(n)(7), Related To Transition Of Customer To POLR Service
 
The failure of Pre-Buy Electric to notify the Commission and customers of its intent to cease operations and its failure to certify that customer deposits and/or prepayments had been refunded pursuant to P.U.C. Subst. R. 20.107(i)(8) is a Class C violation. The failures of the Company to refund customer deposits and/or prepayments within 30 days pursuant to P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.107(t)(2), 25.43(n)(7), and 25.487(j)(2) are Class A violation.   An administrative penalty of $1,866,000 is recommended based upon the following analysis:
 
The failure of Pre-Buy to notify the Commission and customers of its intent to cease operations and its failure to certify that customer deposits and/or prepayments had been refunded pursuant to P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.107(i)(8) is deemed a Class C violation. P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.8(b)(1) specifies that the maximum penalty for Class C violations is $1,000 per day. Three hundred thirty-six days have elapsed from the date on which pre-Buy ceased operations until the present day. The recommended penalty for this violation is $336,000. The failure of to refund customer deposits and/or prepayments within 30 days pursuant to P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.107(f)(2), 25.43(n)(7), and 25.478(j)(2) is deemed to be a Class A violation. P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.8(b)(3) specifies that the maximum penalty for Class A violations is $25,000 per day. Staff is recommending a penalty of $5,000 for each day that the violations have continued. Three hundred six days have elapsed from the date on which customer refunds should have been accomplished and the present day. The recommended penalty for this violation is $1,530,000.  Because Pre-Buy has failed to respond to Commission Staff’s requests for confirmation that customer deposits or prepayments have been returned to customers, the allegations in this memorandum are based on information and belief. Should Pre-Buy subsequently respond to Commission Staff’s requests for information or appear at hearing, Commission Staff reserves the right to amend its penalty recommendation.
 

REP Bill Payment Assistance Funds

With much interest focused legislatively on disconnect moratoriums and customers not paying their bills, I thought it might be worthwhile to summarize the latest REP donations to their bill payment assistance funds.  The information below was taken from the 2007 Annual Reports filed by REPs in June of 2008.  The responses are the answer to Part E, Question 6, b — the which requires REPS to provide for the reporting period the amount of money set aside for bill payment assistance, pursuant to 25.480(g)(2)(B).
 
Below are the responses for the larger REPs that provide service to residential customers.  These are raw dollar amounts donated by these REPs to their own funds and have not been adjusted to reflect the size of each REPs customer base.
 
TXU Energy – $5,000,000
Reliant Energy – $900,000
Direct Energy – $748,660 (includes CPL, WTU and Direct Energy)
First Choice Power – $88,000
Green Mountain – $20,000

Tara Energy – $11,996.58 (suspect this reflects only funds provided by Centerpoint and AEP and does not reflect donation by Tara Energy)
Stream Energy – $4,500

Just Energy – $172

Spark, Electric Now, Liberty Power, Commerce Energy, Startex Power, Strategic Energy – $0
Cirro Energy, W Power, Texas Power – information filed confidentially
 
Other REPs not listed were not checked.
 
 

Disclosure Rule: Clarification on Fixed Rate Products

To those of you puzzling about how to deal with fixed rate products given the new disclosure rule, I had a chance to visit with staff today (Shawnee and Mick) and received a response to the below query.  The response was that yes, all of these options are permissible under the new rule.
 
I hope this provides some clarification for your use.  If you want something from staff  “in writing” you won’t get it — you know they are dis-inclined to provide such guidance.
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
 

Fixed rate product – A retail electric product with a term of at least three months for which the price (including recurring charges) for each billing period of the contract term is the same throughout the contract term, except that the price may vary from the disclosed amount solely to reflect actual changes in the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) charges, changes to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) or Texas Regional Entity administrative fees charged to loads or changes resulting from federal, state or local laws that impose new or modified fees or costs on a REP that are beyond the REP’s control. 

 

The question:

Are all of the options presented below allowed under the new disclosure rule for a fixed rate product?  (Both in the EFL display and as presented on a customer bill)

 

All EFLs would contain the following language which would be followed by the options presented below:

 

This price disclosure is an example based on average usage patterns – your actual price for electric service may be different depending on how and when you use electricity. This is a fixed price plan. The only circumstance in which the price could change during the contract term are to reflect actual changes in the TDSP charges, or changes resulting from federal, state, or local laws that impose new or modified fees or costs on a REP NAME  that are beyond REP NAME’S control.  Any pricing change made in these limited circumstances may be made without prior notice and without the right to cancel without incurring a fee.

 

This average price shown above includes the following components:

 

Option 1 (fully bundled presentation on EFL and Bill):

This price disclosure includes all monthly recurring charges from the REP and the TDSP:

·        Usage charge:  10.5 ¢ per kWh

 

Option 2 (partially bundled presentation on EFL and Bill):

This price disclosure includes all monthly recurring charges from the REP and the TDSP:

·        Usage charge:  10 ¢ per kWh

·        Monthly charge:  $5

 

Option 3 (partially unbundled presentation on EFL and Bill):

This price disclosure includes all monthly recurring charges as follows:

·        REP usage charge:   8 ¢ per kWh

·        REP monthly charge:  $2.50 per month customer charge

·        Actual TDSP charges as billed by the TDSP

 

Option 4 (fully unbundled presentation on EFL and Bill):

This price disclosure includes all monthly recurring charges as follows:

·        REP usage charge:   8 ¢ per kWh

·        REP monthly charge:  $2.50

·        TDSP usage charge:  2 ¢ per kWh

·        TDSP monthly charge: $2.50

 

The EFL Chart:

Option

500 kWh

1000 kWh

2000 kWh

1

10.5 ¢

10.5 ¢

10.5 ¢

2

11.0 ¢

10.5 ¢

10.25 ¢

3

11.0 ¢

10.5 ¢

10.25 ¢

4

11.0 ¢

10.5 ¢

10.25 ¢

 
 
 
 
Patricia Dolese
Regulatory Compliance Services
512-275-6442 (office)
512-656-3185 (mobile)
866-929-2860 (fax)