Texas TDU Floats New Obligation On Retail Electric Providers As Part Of Low-Income Discounted Rate Proposal
May 26, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-23 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric ("CEHE", "CenterPoint", or the "Company") has floated a mechanism which would impose new obligations on retail electric providers as part of a potential program to provide low-income customers rate relief from Rider TEEEF, which collects the costs of Temporary Emergency Electric Energy Facilities used by CEHE
Rider TEEEF was recently set in CEHE's most recent DCRF proceeding, but CEHE in a new proceeding has applied to update Rider TEEEF
In the recent DCRF proceeding (Docket No. 53442), CEHE noted that the issue of limiting the rate impact of TEEEF on low-income or economically disadvantaged customers arose, and the Company was asked to consider whether it would be open to a rate design methodology for TEEEF that would limit its impact on low-income or economically disadvantaged customers.
In its new TEEEF update application, CEHE said, "The Company does not have an objection to that type of rate design methodology," and CEHE presented testimony on how such a methodology might be implemented for consideration by parties and the Commission.
In testimony, CEHE said that the program could identify customers that are receiving Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) aid in the Company’s service area, who would be eligible to apply for an alternate TEEEF rate. Those customers receiving LIHEAP would have an opportunity to apply to have the TEEEF rate excluded from their CenterPoint Houston charges.
Notably, CEHE said, "The Company would work with Retail Electric Providers ('REPs') and the LIHEAP administrator to determine who is receiving LIHEAP assistance."
Further, CEHE said, "The Company is proposing that customers would apply annually through their REP."
CEHE is proposing an enrollment window once a year, and all qualified customers would receive the benefit for the entire year
The Texas Energy Association
for Marketers (TEAM) issued RFIs to CEHE concerning the low-income alternate TEEEF rate, which identify certain concerns regarding the reliance on REPs under CEHE's proposal
Among other RFIs, TEAM asked:
• Please confirm whether CenterPoint has presented this proposal to the LIHEAP
• Please explain if the LIHEAP administrator has indicated if the information for
LIHEAP customers can be shared with CenterPoint for this purpose.
• Please describe any due diligence not addressed in other subparts that
CenterPoint has performed to determine the feasibility of this proposal.
• Please explain what role CenterPoint is envisioning retail electric providers will
play in assisting with the identification and enrollment of customers receiving
LIHEAP assistance; describe the information needed to fulfill this role; and
explain whether CenterPoint has confirmed that retail electric providers have
the information needed to fulfill this role.
• Please admit or deny
that a retail electric provider is not required to assist a TDU with identifying or
enrolling customers in a program that provides an adjustment to a TDU rate.
• Please explain
whether CenterPoint plans to compensate retail electric providers for any costs
associated with the administration of the low-income rate adjustment.
• Please explain
whether CenterPoint has considered a process for registering customers for the
low-income rate adjustment that is similar to the process used to apply for
designation as a Critical Care Residential Customer.
The revenue requirement shortfall from the low-income TEEEF rate would be reallocated across all customer classes using the allocation factors derived from the 12CP and kWh allocation.