Texas PUC Commissioners Agree To Extend Benefits Under Electricity Relief Program Through September 30
Separate Requirement For REPs To Offer Deferred Payment Plans Will Remain In Place
August 13, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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At today's Texas PUC open meeting, Commissioners agreed with a Staff proposal concerning the wind-down of the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (ERP), including Staff's proposal that benefits continue through September 30, 2020.
Commissioners did not yet take a formal vote, but agreed with a Staff proposal relating to the wind-down. Commissioners will take a vote on a formal order at the next open meeting
As previously reported, the ERP reimburses REPs at a rate of $0.04 per kWh for customers in the ERP, whom the REPs cannot disconnect for non-payment. Delivery charges are also not charged to the REPs for ERP customers
As previously reported, the PUC had adopted an order to extend the Electricity Relief Program (ERP) until August 31, 2020
Commissioners agreed with Staff's proposal that enrollments shall end on August 31, and ERP program benefits shall end on September 30, 2020.
During the open meeting, PUC Chairman DeAnn T. Walker stressed to retail electric providers that the wind-down of the ERP does not impact the PUC's separate order requiring REPs to offer deferred payment plans during the state of emergency related to the pandemic until otherwise directed by PUC order
Specifically, as previously reported, on March 26, 2020, April 17, 2020, and May 14, 2020, in accordance with 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§ 25.480(j)(1)(B) and 25.498(i)(1)(B), the Commission directed all retail electric providers to offer a deferred payment plan to customers, upon request.
The PUC renewed this directive to all retail electric providers in a July 16 order which provides that, "All retail electric providers must continue to offer a deferred payment plan to customers, upon request, until further order of the Commission." This order was separate from the ERP order.
Walker said that ending the deferred payment plan requirement at the end of August would not be appropriate at this time, especially since the separate ERP is ending and customers will lose such benefits and will once again be subject to disconnection for non-payment. Such transitioning customers would benefit from the availability of a deferred payment plan, Walker said