The Texas Public Utilities Commission estimates nearly $425,000 in penalties for violations of electricity and water rules

Austin The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) assessed $424,500 in fines, obtained $66,912 in market refunds, and approved a $100,000 customer assistance donation related to electricity and water code violations at its open meeting Thursday. The authority has primary economic supervisory and regulatory authority over the electricity, water, and telecommunications industries in the state.

The committee approved settlement agreements in seven separate files:

  • Case No. 56213: Settlement Agreement with Water Utilities for Rule Violations Regarding Use of Confusing Language in Customer Bills (TWC §§ 13.135 and 13.136(a) and 16 TAC § 24.165(a)). The company agreed to pay an administrative fine of $20,000.
  • File No. 55953: Settlement Agreement with Electric Cooperative for Rule Violations Related to Weather Preparedness Declaration Requirements in 2022 and 2023 (of 16 TAC § 25.55(f)(3)(A) and (B)). The cooperative agreed to pay an administrative fine of $4,500.
  • Case No. 56111: Settlement Agreement with Real Estate Company for Violations of Rules Concerning Unauthorized Reselling of Electricity and Deprivation of Tenants’ Right to Choose Retail Electricity Providers (PURA §§ 17.004(a), 39.102, 39.107, and 39.352(a) and 16 TAC § 25.107(a), 25.474, and 24.475). The company agreed to pay an administrative fine of $200,000.
  • Case No. 56246: Settlement Agreement with Retail Electricity Provider for Violations of Rules Concerning Customer Disconnections for Nonpayment During Severe Weather Emergency (PURA § 39.101(h), 16 TAC §§ 25.483(b)(2)(B) and 25.483(j) The provider agreed to pay an administrative penalty of $100,000 and donate $100,000 to the Bill Payment Assistance Program.
  • Case No. 56249: Settlement Agreement with Municipally-Owned Utility for Rule Violations Related to Imprecise Telemetry (PURA § 39.151(j); 16 TAC §§ 25.503(e)(3) and (f)(2); and ERCOT Nodal Protocols § 6.4.6(1), Scheduling and Operation of Generation Resources). The facility agreed to repay $24,900.34 in excess revenue it received as a result of the violation. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will distribute the revenues paid using a method approved in Suit No. 54985.
  • File No. 56311: Settlement Agreement with Municipally-Owned Utility for Rule Violations Relating to Inaccurate Telemetry (PURA § 39.151(j); 16 TAC §§ 25.503(e)(3), (f)(2), (f)( 6), (f)(8); and ERCOT Contract Protocols § 6.4.6(1), Scheduling and Operation of Generation Resources). The facility agreed to repay $42,012.60 in excess revenue it received as a result of the violation. ERCOT will distribute the revenues paid using the method approved in Suit No. 54985.
  • Case No. 56337: Settlement Agreement against Retail Electricity Provider for Violations of Rules Related to Pricing of a Prepaid Product (16 TAC § 25.498, Prepaid Service). The provider agreed to pay an administrative fine of $100,000.

Administrative fines are paid to the PUCT and ultimately deposited into the state’s general fund. Typically, payments must be made within 30 days of the final signed order date.

A recording of this open meeting is available here on the PUCT website. PUCT’s next open meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, 2024.

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