Octopus Energy, APG&E Both Seek To Serve As Volunteer POLRs In Texas
PUC Staff Recommend Granting REP's Request To Be Relieved Of Non-Volunteer POLR Obligation
February 24, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Evolve Retail Energy LLC d/b/a Octopus Energy filed a request at the Texas PUC to be designated a volunteer POLR (aka Voluntary Retail Electric Provider or VREP) for the residential and small commercial customer classes
Octopus Energy said, "Octopus Energy did not meet the formal qualifications of a large service provider ('LSP' [non-volunteer POLR]) as of its 07/09/2020 filing in Docket 50500 because of a failure to meet the requirements of substantive rules §25.43 (h)(2)(B) & (D)." Specifically, (i) the sum of the numeric portion of Octopus Energy’s percentage of ESI IDs served and percentage of retail sales by MWhs in the POLR area, for the particular class, was less than 1.0; and (ii) on the date of the commencement of the term, Octopus Energy or its predecessor had not served customers in Texas for at least 18 months.
Octopus Energy said, "We have subsequently satisfied the requirement that we have served customers for at least 18 months. In addition, although the sum of the numeric portion of the Octopus Energy US’s percentage of ESI IDs served and percentage of retail sales by MWhs in the POLR area for the particular class is less than 1.0 in Texas, we are a large retail electric provider that serves more than 2 million customers worldwide. Octopus Energy US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Octopus Energy Group. For these reasons we believe the PUCT should make an exception to these requirements."
Octopus Energy said, "Good cause to grant this application exists because the current winter weather event could increase the possibility of mass transition events. If such events were to occur, having a larger number of VREPs would simplify the transition process and result in fewer negative impacts to customers. Having more suppliers in the VREP market will enable the ERCOT market to become more efficient and is in the public interest. While Octopus Energy has not yet been designated a POLR provider for the current term (2021-2022), Octopus Energy meets the eligibility requirements to serve as a VREP. Octopus Energy Group serves approximately 2,000,000 customers globally, has been consistently ranked a top retailer in the UK for the past 4 years by 'Which?' rating agency (https://www.which.co.uk/), has successfully received several mass-transition books in other markets, and has strong financial support, further details of which can be found in our supplemental confidential filing."
Octopus Energy said, "Currently, POLR service is provided by the TXU/Reliant successors who also control over 70% of the retail market. Adding another POLR unaffiliated with these incumbents would be a benefit to the market and to customers. In addition, given the expected unprecedented number of customers switching to POLR this week in light of REP defaults, the market would benefit from having another POLR to absorb these customers, and having another POLR should expedite customer switching for the POLR customers. Ultimately, for markets to be efficient and reduce prices for all customers, well-funded organizations such as Octopus Energy should be allowed to participate in the VREP program on an emergency basis given the unique severity of the recent events."
The number of customers that Octopus Energy is willing to serve as a volunteer POLR was filed under seal
Separately, AP GAS & ELECTRIC (TX) LLC also filed to serve as a volunteer POLR
APG&E requested to be designated as a Voluntary Retail Electric Provider (VREP) as of February 23, 2021 for the number of Electric Service Identifiers (ESI IDs) indicated below, for the specified transmission and distribution utilities (TDUs) and within the residential and Small and Medium Commercial customer classes:
TDU Number of ESI IDs
Separately, Staff recommended that the PUC approve the previously reported request of EDF Energy Services, LLC to be removed as an eligible non-volunteer POLR for small non-residential customers (see details on EDF's request here)