Update On REP Certificate Revocation Proceeding For Texas Retail Provider
March 11, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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On March 11, Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas requested to withdraw, without prejudice, Staff's petition to revoke the retail electric provider certificate of Volt Electricity Provider, LP
Staff had initiated the revocation petition in March 2021 in the aftermath of winter storm Uri, after ERCOT revoked all rights of Volt to conduct activity under the ERCOT Protocols due to Volt's alleged
failure to cure a material breach of Volt's standard form market participant agreement with
However, while Staff is withdrawing, without prejudice, its revocation petition, such withdrawal is said to be part of still-ongoing settlement negotiations which are anticipated to see Volt relinquish its REP certificate, according to a PUC media representative (further discussed below)
Such treatment is not uncommon (and allows the REP to avoid a formal revocation); however, we are publishing this story because such anticipated sequence of events was not clear from the text of Staff's motion to withdraw (typically, a motion to withdraw would be filed coincident to, or after, the filing of either the settlement which has relinquishment as one of its terms, or the relinquishment filing itself; as of publication time, neither a settlement nor a relinquishment filing has been filed). Accordingly, in the interest of keeping the market informed, and to avoid any confusion from stakeholders which may read Staff's March 11 motion to withdraw without additional context, we are reporting this development which otherwise is typically prosaic
While parties had stated in October 2021 that they had reached a settlement in principle, and while the case has been abated to allow further finalization of such stipulation, Staff's motion to withdraw did not materially reference any forthcoming settlement
Instead, the Staff motion to withdraw states, "Commission Staff has become aware of certain facts that complicate the matters at issue in this proceeding. Accordingly, Commission Staff does not believe the continued pursuit of its petition to revoke Volt's REP certificate best serves the public interest at this time. Commission Staff will continue its investigation of Volt's actions in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri and will pursue enforcement of any violations in a manner that allows for an outcome reflective of the unique circumstances involved."
A PUC media representative provided the following statement in response to EnergyChoiceMatters.com's inquiry regarding Staff's motion and Staff's reference to "facts that complicate the matters" in Staff's filing:
"The facts underlying staff’s withdrawal of [the] petition to revoke are part of ongoing and extensive negotiations. This is the first step of an agreement intended to lead to the relinquishment of Volt’s certificate to operate as a retail electric provider.
--- Statement from PUC media representative
As previously reported, while Volt defaulted at ERCOT, its customers were transitioned to Ampra Energy, and Volt did not experience a POLR drop.
In a March 2021 response to Staff's revocation petition, Volt generally denied each and every, all and singular, all of the allegations contained in
In a June 2021 list of issues filed in the proceeding, Volt had stated, "Volt is anxious to address this matter on the record. Volt’s staff have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Volt’s owners have been irreparably and unfairly harmed. All this, from an event that was created and made worse by other market participants and where Volt was long energy hedges. While the root cause of the failure of the power grid to maintain it function during the winter storm event was initially caused by power generation and natural gas companies with very poor planning, policies and practices, even though Volt was long energy throughout the load shed, errors, mistakes and ill-made decisions made by others, including ERCOT and the PUCT, at a minimum exacerbated the results of the event and have left many unemployed and entities at risk of license revocation, which is overly punitive as applied to Volt, for the event and what precipitated thereafter were outside of Volt’s control."