Archive for June 2010

Staff Files Agreed NOV’s in Compliance Audits

The product of the first round of compliance audits is starting to be seen publicly.  Staff filed 5 agreed NOV’s today.

 

 
The Agreed penalty amounts in each are:
 
Ambit:    $22,500
Andeler:  $30,000
Spark:     $44,500
Bounce:  $28,000 (also agreed to a violation of 25.107)
Affordable: $40,000 (also agreed to a violation of 25.107)
 

38392

1 

PUC LEGAL 

AGREED NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATING TO AMBIT ENERGY’S VIOLATION OF PURA §17.004 AND §39.101 AND PUC SUBST. R. §25.475 AND §25.479, CONCERNING CUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE

38393

1

PUC LEGAL

AGREED NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATING TO ANDELER CORPORATION’S VIOLATION OF PURA §17.004 AND §39.101 AND PUC SUBST. R. §25.475 AND §25.479, CONCERNING CUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE

38394

1

PUC LEGAL

AGREED NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATING TO SPARK ENERGY L.P.’S VIOLATION OF PURA §17.004 AND §39.101 AND PUC SUBST. R. §25.475 AND §25.479, CONCERNING CUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE

38395

1

PUC LEGAL

AGREED NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATING TO BOUNCE ENERGY INC.’S VIOLATION OF PURA §17.004 AND §39.101 AND PUC SUBST. R. §25.475 AND §25.479, CONCERNING CUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE

38396

1

PUC LEGAL

AGREED NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATING TO AFFORDABLE POWER L.P.’S VIOLATION OF PURA §17.004 AND §39.101 AND PUC SUBST. R. §25.475 AND §25.479, CONCERNING CUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE

First NOV stemming from Compliance Audits Filed

PUCT staff filed an NOV yesterday against DPI Energy stemming from a compliance audit they conducted last fall. It was expected that REPs would likely settle these cases, with agreed NOVs, but that does not appear to be the case here.

The filing can be found at:

http://interchange.puc.state.tx.us/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/pgSearch_Results.asp?TXT_CNTR_NO=38384&TXT_ITEM_NO=1

Staff files policy cuts memo in dockets 36131/37622

Commission staff has filed their policy cuts memorandum for consideration by the Commissioners at next week’s Open Meeting. The hope is that the Commissioners discussion will provide staff guidance as to the main cuts they should make when finalizing the rule for adoption. Staff expects to bring a first cut of the rule for adoption back to the July 30th open meeting, but the rule will likely not receive final approval until August.

The staff filing can be found at:  http://interchange.puc.state.tx.us/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/pgSearch_Results.asp?TXT_CNTR_NO=36131&TXT_ITEM_NO=78

REP Revocation testimony

Check out staff’s testimony in the TexREP 5 (AllStar Power) revocation pleading…

http://interchange.puc.state.tx.us/WebApp/Interchange/Documents/38146_11_654213.PDF

Staff’s clearly not messing around with “false and misleading” and “pattern of violations”.

July 1 OM likely first discussion on 36131/37622

The commissioners will likely have a policy cuts only conversation on these rules at the July 1 Open Meeting. It is unclear if staff will have even provided them with language at that point. The stakeholder session Com. Nelson had scheduled for June 28th has been cancelled and will likely be rescheduled once the Commissioners make their policy cuts.

Another strange staff rule interpretaion

In working on the critical care rulemaking (37622), I noticed that the existing rule — 25.497(b)(1) states that “A REP shall advise customers of their rights relating to critical care designation in the terms of service documents.” This language was, with minor modification, being carried forward into the new proposed rule. When reviewing 25.475 for the TOS contents, this requirement is not specified, however it is listed as being a required disclosure for the “Your Rights as a Customer” (YRAC) document. I pointed out this minor inconsistency to staff, who stated that because the 25.497 is in lowercase (i.e. not Terms of Service), it means in general the contract documents, so no change was really necessary. Unfortunately, 25.475 defines “contract documents” as the TOS, EFL & YRAC. This could lead to the conclusion that the disclosure should be in EACH document. I suspect the REPs will suggest that the 25.497 language be changed to reference the YRAC, but thought you’d appreciate some insight into how staff reads their own rules.

Discussions w/PUCT Staff on 36131/37622

Attendees:

PUCT:  Cliff, Scottie, Grace, Lorenzo, Christine, and Jess

REPs:  Vicki, myself, Meigs, Darrin, Jessica and Cathy

We walked through the documents Vicki distributed late yesterday that consolidate the REP Coalition comments and replies as well as accept some TDU changes.  Vicki mentioned that the REPs would be meeting later in the week with the TDUs to discuss some of the issues.  

Critical Care Rule

With respect to 25.497, staff specifically asked the REPs to confer with the TDUs on:  the critical care renewal process, the requirement that the the applicant “permanently reside with the customer”.  Staff expressed concern related to the use of the “battery-backup” as the distinguishing criteria between chronic condition and critical care.  We had a very good discussion though as to the need to a good policy cut on the customer’s responsibilities versus the industry’s responsibility with respect to at-risk customers.  The REPs continued to emphasize the need to keep the “critical care”  list more narrowly scoped.

Other Rules

Staff concerned about the use of “magic words” being needed by customers to get DPPs.  REPs explained their existing practices though the staff seemed concerned that the “bad REPs” don’t do this.  It was suggested that the PUCT already has authority to deal with this issue.  Staff is also interested in TDU input as to removal of switch-holds spelled out in 25.480(m).  REPs reiterated quite forcefully the need to link the switch-hold provisions to the protections. The example of, if the PUCT is not going to allow switch-holds for average payment plans, then the expanded rules for average payment plans should be deleted, was used to make this point more than once.

Staff raised the consumer concerns related to pricing issues for customers on switch-holds:  could their rates be changed because of this, what happens at contract expiration, etc.  REPs were encouraged to work to some conclusion on this set of issues as it was important to staff. 

Timetable

Staff advised they thought that the 7/15 OM looked more likely.  REPs suggested that perhaps the Commissioners could have a policy cuts discussion at the 7/1 OM that would motivate parties to reach consensus on “final language.”  Staff seemed willing to pursue this idea.  REPs advised that we will be meeting with COM’s in mid June to discuss our views on these key policy cuts in advance of any OM discussions.