Texas PUC Executive Director Informs Retail Electric Providers Of Enforcement Discretion
Timeline For TDU Execution Of Disconnections For Non-Pay Also Included
April 6, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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The Executive Director of the Public Utility Commission of Texas issued a letter to various regulated entities concerning certain enforcement discretion that the Commission is undertaking during the COVID-19 emergency
"In recognition of the widespread public health concerns caused by the spread of COVID-19, reliable utility service for Texans should remain the highest priority. Recognizing that the regulated community should prioritize customer assistance, certain enforcement discretion may be appropriate to facilitate this priority," the Executive Director stated
With respect to Retail Electric Providers (REPs), the letter sets forth enforcement discretion as follows:
• "16 TAC § 25.472(b) insofar as it requires REPs to provide a requested residential billing history to an energy assistance agency by the end of the next business day. REPs may see an increase in such requests and have in many cases suspended disconnection requests. The Commission will utilize enforcement discretion to the extent that REPs use best efforts to provide these billing histories as soon as possible.
• "16 TAC § 25.485(d) and (e) insofar as they require a retail electric provider to respond to a complaint submitted by a customer or applicant, or an informal complaint at the Commission within 21 days after the complaint was received by the retail electric provider. The Commission will utilize enforcement discretion where a REP provides notice to the Customer Protection Division that it is experiencing resource constraints with respect to complaint processing, provided that the REP complies with the prohibitions on collection activities and disconnection during the pendency of the complaint.
• "16 TAC § 25.491(b) and (d) insofar as they require retail electric providers to produce records to the Commission within 15 days. The Commission will utilize enforcement discretion where this requirement is infeasible unless the Commission Staff indicates that the matter for which records are being requested is an emergency."
Additionally, with respect to Transmission and Distribution Utilities, the letter provides enforcement discretion related to 16 TAC §§ 25.214(d), 25.483(c), and Sections 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and 184.108.40.206 of the Tariff for Retail Delivery Service, insofar as they require disconnection for nonpayment within a certain timeframe of the requested date. "The Commission will exercise enforcement discretion involving these provisions," the letter states
While eligible residential customers are covered by a DNP suspension and relief program, standard DNP timelines would have applied to ineligible residential customers and non-residential customers in the absence of such enforcement discretion
"This enforcement discretion addressed in this letter applies until further notice," the letter states
"If a regulated entity experiences specific problems regarding compliance with Commission rule requirements caused by the spread of COVID-19 that are not addressed by this memo, the Commission encourages it to contact the Commission’s Oversight and Enforcement Division to discuss enforcement discretion with respect to those requirements," the letter states