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Texas PUC Chair Will Be "Watching" REP For Compliance After Adopting Settlement

September 9, 2016

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Copyright 2010-16 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

Donna Nelson, Chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said yesterday that she would be "watching" retail electric provider Brooklet Energy Distribution, LLC for compliance, as the PUC adopted a settlement between the REP and PUC Staff concerning Brooklet's untimely responses to complaints and Staff RFIs.

Stating that the violations were, "so egregious and offensive," that Nelson wanted to discuss them during the September 8 open meeting, rather than voting on the settlement through the consent agenda, Nelson said that, "If it had been me in Enforcement, I would have petitioned for the Commission to revoke this company's certificate."

"Other than trying to pull a fast one on customers, one of the worst things [a REP] can do is not respond to Commission Staff's questions," Nelson said, noting that Brooklet did not respond to certain RFIs until some 260 days after issuance.

While the PUC approved the settlement, Nelson made clear, "We're watching you, Brooklet Energy Distribution."

Brooklet Energy Distribution also uses the trade names Acacia Energy, Now Power, Snap Energy, and Vital Power

As reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com in June, under the adopted settlement Brooklet Energy Distribution, LLC is to pay $100,000 to resolve allegations that Brooklet violated PURA §§ 17.053 and 39.101(b)(7) and 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.485(e)(1)(D) (TAC) related to Response Times for Complaints.

According to the settlement, in June and July 2015, Brooklet failed to timely respond to the Commission within the 21-day period in eight separate informal complaints. In the aggregate, Brooklet was 1,642 days late in responding to 18 complaints, the settlement states

Furthermore, the settlement states that, on July 10, 2015, Commission Staff sent Brooklet a set of RFIs as part of an informal investigation. The settlement states that, despite repeated requests for a response by Commission Staff, Brooklet did not respond to these RFIs until April 26, 2016, or 260 days late

During the open meeting, Staff said that Brooklet had explained that the failures to respond to the complaints in a timely fashion resulted from the sending of complaints by the PUC to an invalid company email address (which Nelson said indicated the REP was not updating its information with the PUC as required), which has since been corrected. Additionally, Staff said that Brooklet's failure to respond to the RFIs resulted from the misplacement of the RFIs by a Brooklet representative, who has since been terminated.

Staff said that they do not expect these issues to ever happen again with Brooklet

Brooklet Energy Distribution provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com:

"Brooklet acknowledges the observations of the PUC Chair Donna Nelson. When these issues were first raised by the PUCT during its investigation, Brooklet took steps to remedy the issues discussed at the PUC meeting today. We appreciate the staff of the PUC allowing Brooklet the chance to correct these errors and would like to assure the PUC and our customers that these issues were addressed immediately upon notice and are not ongoing problems. While no company likes to have their failings noted in such a public manner, particularly through the imposition of fines, we know we are not the only REP in the Texas market who has paid fines for these types of violations, and not been threatened with revocation. As a result, we are confident that the steps we have taken will reduce the likelihood of further compliance issues with the PUCT."

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