Oncor To Pay $100,000 Under Settlement With Texas PUC Staff Related To Disconnections For Non-Payment
December 29, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Oncor Electric Delivery Company (Oncor) would pay $100,000 under a settlement with Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to resolve and conclude Commission Staff’s investigation of Oncor for alleged violations of 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) § 25.214(c), related to 57 disconnections for non-payment (DNP) that were allegedly completed during an extreme weather emergency during a nearly three-year period (and during which time Oncor received over 29,000 DNP requests that were either requested during an extreme weather emergency or which were for a future disconnection date that later became an extreme weather emergency day)
Section 184.108.40.206 of Oncor’s Tariff states that Oncor shall not disconnect service to a retail customer in certain circumstances, including during extreme weather emergencies as defined in Commission rules.
An "extreme weather emergency" is defined in 16 TAC § 25.483(j)(1) as a day when, "the previous day’s highest temperature did not exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature is predicted to remain at or below that level for the next 24 hours anywhere in the county, according to the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) reports; or the NWS issues a heat advisory for a county, or when such advisory has been issued on any one of the preceding two calendar days in a county."
The settlement states that, "Before making process improvements in 2020 and Customer Care & Billing and Meter Data Management systems enhancements in 2021, Oncor used manual procedures to monitor for disconnections completed during declared extreme weather emergencies and to process reconnections upon identification of such disconnections."
From January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2020, extreme weather emergencies were declared for 164 days in Oncor’s service area.
The settlement states that, "During the 164 days for which extreme weather emergencies were declared, Oncor received a total of 19,343 DNP requests. Specifically, Oncor received 7,542 requested DNPs from 52 REPs in 2018, 11,086 DNPs from 63 REPs in 2019, and 715 DNPs from 46 REPs from January 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020. Oncor completed 15 of those 19,343 requested DNPs."
The settlement states that, "Additionally, from January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2020, Oncor received 10,184 DNP requests prior to an extreme weather emergency being declared, for a future disconnection date that later became an extreme weather emergency day. Oncor completed 42 of those 10,184 requested DNPs."
The settlement states that, "In total, Oncor received 29,527 DNP requests from REPs for dates that were, or became, extreme weather emergency days from January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2020. Oncor completed 57 of those 29,527 DNP requests."
The settlement states that, "Of the 57 completed requests, 53 ESI IDs were reconnected within a range of 14 minutes to 52 hours and 18 minutes (with a median of 3 hours and 58 minutes), and the remaining four did not require reconnection, as Oncor instead received move-out requests."
The settlement states that Oncor implemented various remedial measures to prevent the recurrence of any violations
Specifically, the settlement states that, "Oncor has made improvements to its systems and processes used to significantly reduce the possibility of completion of DNP requests during extreme weather emergencies, and to remedy DNP requests completed during extreme weather emergencies."
As stated in the settlement, such measures include:
a. "Oncor transitioned in April 2021 from a manual process for flagging counties with weather moratoriums to an automated process that flags counties based on the alerts issued by the NWS for extreme weather events every ten minutes. This automated process significantly reduces the possibility of processing a DNP during such events."
b. "Oncor established active system monitoring to raise an escalated ticket in the event that the connection is lost between Oncor and the NWS."
c. "Oncor enhanced its customer-focused applications in April 2021 with the ability to indicate when a particular ESIID is affected by an extreme weather emergency."
d. "Internal communications and trainings are distributed annually by Oncor to educate on the customer impacts and impact to Oncor when a DNP request is completed during an extreme weather emergency."
e. "Oncor’s customer information system monitors for any DNP requests completed during an extreme weather emergency and automatically issues a reconnection order for any such requests. The customer information system also creates an associated exception order to escalate to the Exception Management team."
The settlement states that, "Oncor will continue its efforts to prevent completion of DNP requests during extreme weather emergencies and to monitor for any completed requests using improvements as noted [above]. Should Oncor complete a DNP request during an extreme weather emergency, an associated reconnect order will be created and executed as soon as reasonably possible."
Oncor will provide Commission Staff with semi-annual reports of: (1) all DNP requests from REPs received by Oncor during a declared extreme weather emergency to be implemented on a date already declared an extreme weather emergency, and (2) all disconnections completed by Oncor during extreme weather emergencies and respective times for processing reconnections. "Oncor will continue providing these semi-annual reports to Commission Staff on an indefinite basis," the settlement states
The settlement states that, "This agreement represents a compromise of claims and allegations, and the execution of this agreement does not admit the truth or accuracy of any such disputed claims."
The settlement states that Oncor fully cooperated with Commission Staff’s investigation.