Been reading an article on EnergyChoiceMatters.com (Pennsylvania ALJ Denies Complaint Over Variable Rate Disclosure, But Suggests Review of Language due to Customer “Confusion”) and made me think it is time to post about the rules in Texas.
Several years ago, the PUCT held a workshop to develop guidelines to be used in posting promotional offers on the Power to Choose website.
Below are the guidelines developed during the workshop. These guidelines have generally been incorporated into the PUCT instructions provided to REPs who use the PTC. REPs found not following the PUCT’s instructions can be removed from the PTC website by the PUCT.
- For purposes of complying with these provisions a promotional rate is defined as: a variable price product whose rate for the first billing cycle is intentionally set at a price that will be lower than the price that will be charged to the customer on the second billing cycle.
- The existence of a promotional rate does not, in and of itself, create a new product, rather a promotional rate is tied to an underlying product. The underlying product may be an existing variable price product, or it may be a new product.
- Pursuant to 25.475(c)(2)(G), “A REP shall not rename a product in order to avoid disclosure of price history.” That same premise would hold true for creation of a “new product.”
- The PTC website will no longer display the promotional rates in the tabular area. If you are posting a promotional offer, you must input the estimated price that would otherwise be charged absent the promotional price. This price can be the price that is expected to be charged in the first billing cycle following the conclusion of the promotional price period, or can be the price for the REPs’ most comparable non-promotional, generally available variable price offer.
- Promotional offers (rates or other promotions) can be described by the REP in the “Promotion Description” field on the PTC offer input area.
- The EFL for a variable price product that includes a promotional offer shall present the price for the 2nd billing cycle in the pricing section. The promotional offer (or rate) shall be disclosed in the section titled “Other Key Terms and Questions” and shall not be a reference to the TOS. If the promotion (or promotional rate) billing cycle may be less than a full calendar month, this should also be disclosed. If the promotional rate is billed for the first billing cycle, by definition (see below) this rate is less than the normal rate and therefore should be allowed pursuant to 25.471(b)(1) and (4).