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Texas Retail Provider To Pay $90,000 Under Settlement With PUC Staff

June 27, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Spark Energy, LLC would pay $90,000 under a settlement with Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to resolve alleged violations of TAC §§ 25.474(h)(5)(B)(vi), concerning verification of authorization of telephonic enrollment; 25.475(c)(2)(H), concerning general contracting requirements; and 25.483(l)(3), concerning disconnection notices.

The settlement states that, "Under 16 TAC § 25.475(c)(2)(H), a REP is required to comply with its contracts, which includes the EFL." Under 16 TAC § 475(b)(1), contracts include EFLs.

The settlement states that, "The default renewal product offered by Spark in 2017 contained a variable-rate plan with monthly rate adjustments."

The settlement states that, "For the 2017 calendar year, Spark charged 75 of its customers a rate different than the rate listed in the EFL for the default renewal product provided to the customers with their contract expiration notices."

The settlement states that, "This improper billing was due to the variable rate changing in between the time the expiration notice was sent to the customers and the first post-term billing cycle."

The settlement states that, "The financial impact for all of the 75 customers was a total of $641.08."

The settlement states that, "Spark has indicated that it issued credits to each impacted customer."

The settlement states that, "Spark now offers a default renewal product that ensures the price applied to usage in the first full post-term billing cycle reflects the price listed in the EFL."

The settlement states that, under 16 TAC § 25.474(h)(5)(B)(vi), a REP is required to obtain or confirm proper identification information from the applicant as account access verification data. If the applicant does not consent or provide this information, the enrollment shall be deemed invalid.

The settlement states that, "For the 2017 calendar year, Spark had 25 instances in which Spark failed to properly obtain the applicant's account access verification data."

The settlement states that, "Spark informed Staff that in response to the 25 instances of failure to properly obtain account access verification data, they have implemented specific compliance measures and added compliance related personnel in an effort to ensure account access verification data is properly obtained."

Under 16 TAC § 25.483(l)(3), a disconnection notice for nonpayment shall have a disconnection date that is not a holiday, weekend day, or a day that the REP's personnel are not available to take payments.

The settlement states that, "For the 2017 calendar year, Spark issued disconnection notices which included a disconnection date on a holiday on 2,007 occasions and on a weekend day on 12,114 occasions."

The settlement states that, "Spark contends that it does not actually disconnect customers on holidays or weekends."

The settlement states that, "Spark indicates that it has executed the necessary system changes to ensure that disconnect dates would no longer fall on a holiday or weekend."

Docket 49684

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