Texas Retail Providers Seek Changes To PUCT Complaint Reporting
November 2, 2015 Email This Story Copyright 2010-15 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Karen Abbott • firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas retail electric providers have offered recommendations to change to an annual report concerning complaints to the Public Utility Commission of Texas
A group of REPs recommended that the graphs entitled "% of Complaints Resulting in Customer Refunds - FY 2015" and "Average Refund - FY 2015" be eliminated from the proposed data for publication.
"It is unclear upon what basis the 'refund' amounts are calculated," the REPs said. "To the extent that 'refund' includes anything more than the refunds resulting from a final order in a complaint case, the description does not provide useful or reliable information. In resolving customer complaints, it is not uncommon for a company to provide a courtesy credit to the customer's account, or to waive certain fees as a courtesy to the customer. Such courtesies should not be termed 'refunds,' as they don't infer anything about the prospective outcome of a complaint case. Yet, without more explanation, a reader could mistakenly infer that 'average refunds' relate to Commission Final Order mandates or amounts that retail electric providers or utilities were required to pay. Moreover, the [Sunset Advisory Commission] Management Action does not call for reporting of refunds. Therefore, the graphs depicting customer 'refund' data should be eliminated from the proposed data for publication."
The REPs also suggested that categories used in complaints charts be further defined.
"For example, it is not immediately clear the distinction between 'Provision of Service' and 'Discontinuance,' nor is it clear whether 'Quality of Service' refers to reliability of electric service or some other topic. Moreover, it is the REP Commenters' understanding that the categories shown on the proposed chart are those assigned upon the customer's initial contact with the Commission rather than upon resolution of the complaint. Therefore, depending on the customer's description of the perceived problem, the same fact situation may be characterized as either 'Cramming' (if the customer is specific about seeing additional charges on the bill) or simply 'Billing' (if the customer only states that her bill is 'wrong'). In either case, the broad issue is 'Billing.' The Commission should therefore consider whether the usability of the data would be improved by using broader categories to describe the complaints," the REPs said