Texas PUC Staff File Recommendation On REPs' Petition Concerning Automatic Disconnection Moratorium Sunsets
August 16, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Staff of the Texas PUC have recommended denying a petition from a group of retail electric providers for a rulemaking to adopt an automatic sunset, absent specific PUC action to the contrary, for any disconnection moratorium adopted by the PUC in response to a disaster.
As first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the Coalition of Competitive Retail Electric Providers had proposed rule changes which included language stating that, "A disconnection moratorium for a state of disaster shall not last longer than 5 calendar days unless specifically continued for up to an additional 5 calendar days by written Commission order issued following notice and opportunity for interested persons to comment."
Commission Staff recommended denial of the petition for rulemaking and stated, "This proposed rule change would require the Commission to conduct an evaluation of its decision to institute a disconnection moratorium in response to a state of disaster declared by the Governor every five CALENDAR days. If adopted, this rule would risk putting a drain on Commission resources at a time when the full focus of the Commission may be required to respond to the disaster in question. Moreover, it would require the Commission to continually reconsider its decision, even potentially requiring Commission action on holidays and weekends to prevent customers from being disconnected during a state of emergency."
"Commission Staff recognizes that extended disconnection moratoriums can place a burden on retail electric providers. However, a decision to limit the Commission' s discretion during a state of disaster is one that should be made with extreme caution and only after a full evaluation of the potential consequences of such a decision," Staff said
Staff further said that, "Initiating a sufficiently thorough rulemaking project at this time would require the Commission to redirect staff resources away from implementing the statutory changes enacted by the 87th Texas Legislature, many of which were enacted in response to the catastrophic consequences of Winter Storm Uri."
"Commission Staff recommends that Petitioners submit this proposal for consideration as part of the Commission' s statutorily required review of its Chapter 25 rules, which is scheduled to begin in November of 2021. This will allow the Commission to consider the relative importance of this rule proposal with respect to the full array of rule changes sought by interested
stakeholders," Staff said