|06/08: The Public Utility Commission (PUC) urged customers of Sure Electric, LLC, also known as Riverway Power Company, to shop for a new provider as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) began the process to switch Riverway customers to a Provider of Last Resort (POLR). ERCOT began the switching process for approximately 6,200 customers on Tuesday, June 10. Source: Public Utility Commission of Texas http://www.puc.state.tx.us/
9/05: In July 2005, the Public Utility Commission of Texas adopted an amendment to §25.343, relating to Competitive Energy Services. The amendment allows an electric utility to provide operation and maintenance services to a military base electric distribution system, whether that system is owned by the military base or is located on the base and is owned by the electric utility or a third party, rather than barring provision of such services as competitive energy services.
Texas will increase the use of renewable energy to generate electricity, meeting a 2009 mandate three years early. Renewable sources include solar, water, biomass and wind power. Wind alone accounts for 96 percent of renewable energy added since 1999. As of March 2005, three percent of the state's total electric power comes from renewable energy.
12/04: Entergy, the major provider of energy in Southeast Texas, announced in June 2004 that it has halted current efforts to move to retail open access in Southeast Texas. PUCT denied Entergy's application to create an independent organization to manage the Entergy transmission system in Texas. Entergy was also told to terminate its current pilot program and delay retail open access until a FERC approved RTO or some other independent entity certified by Texas law is in place. The company was asked to explore joining the Southwest Power Pool RTO as an alternative.
3/04: Southeast Texas has been been unable to deregulate its electric markets due to the fact that its major provider, Entergy, serves a utility grid in the southern United States. Since that grid is not controlled by Texas, federal law was needed to mandate the opening of competition in this area, so FERC and other other federal entities were consulted. In August 2003, the PUC voted 3-0 to approve market protocols, allowing retail competition to begin in Southeast Texas sometime in late 2004.
10/02: The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued a settlement agreement for NewPower’s exit from the Texas retail electric market. According to a PUC news release, NewPower’s final bills must follow PUC rules. “Customers with past due bills of more than $50 may request a deferred payment plan,” but they “will not be charged any late fees or penalties.” The NewPower call center will remain “open until December 30, 2002 or the 61st day after NewPower issues its final bill, whichever date is later.” All complaints received by October 16, 2002 must be resolved, and “all other complaints sent by the PUC to NewPower must be resolved within 21 days.”
8/02: The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved a rate increase due to rising fuel costs. According to a PUC press release, Texas' restructuring legislation, Senate Bill 7, provides that the PUC can raise rates "twice a year if natural gas prices increase at least four percent over a 10-day period." The PUC is considering this issue and may change it in the near future, but the Commission stated that customers are still paying "approximately 10 percent" less than last year. Customers should see the fuel cost increase on their October bills.
3/02: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delayed deregulation in Southeast Texas from September 15, 2002 until 2003 because no consensus has been reached on the formation of a regional transmission organization.
3/02: According to a press release, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) "issued an interim order approving a procedure to allow for the transfer of customer contracts from an Enron subsidiary, Enron Energy Services, Inc. (EES), to Constellation Power Source, Inc. The order also prohibits EES from marketing to or serving customers in Texas pending the sale. This action will allow EES customers to keep the existing contract terms with a qualified provider who buys the contracts from EES or to opt out of their contracts with EES and choose another retail electric provider (REP)."
12/01: The PUC set the "Price to Beat" for the six utility-affiliated retail electric providers in the State. Customers who do not choose to switch to an alternative retail electric provider will continue to receive full service from their utility-affiliated provider. Rates for residential customers will be cut by at least 6 percent on January 1, 2002, when all customers will be able to choose to buy their energy from a competing provider. See Texas Electric Choice for customer information about choosing a retail electric provider.
11/01: Exercising its option to delay retail access in regions where fair competitive service cannot be implemented, the PUC accepted a settlement to delay implementation of retail access in Southeast Texas. Affected are customers of Entergy within the Southeast Regional Reliability Council. The PUC cited a lack of an RTO in the region and the absence of marketing by retail electric service providers as the primary reasons for the decision.
10/01: The PUC delayed retail choice in the area covered by the Southwest Power Pool in Texas (panhandle area). The delay will effect customers of Southwest Electric Power Companay and and a few customers of West Texas Utilities. Reasons cited include the lack of an RTO in that region, no retail electric suppliers, and wholesale electricity markets in the area are not yet competitive.
9/01: Utilities in Texas began the process of auctioning part of their generating capacity. According to SB 7, at least 60 days before competition begins, each generation company affiliated with a former monopoly utility must sell entitlements to at least 15 percent of its installed generation capacity. The action is designed to increase the pool of available power for new retail suppliers entering the market, prevent market power, and promote competition in electricity markets.
8/01: In some areas of East Texas served by Southwestern Electric Power Co and Entergy Gulf States, the PUC considered delaying the implementation of retail electricity competition beyond the scheduled date of January 2002 when the rest of the State will officially open retail access for all electricity customers. No companies have offered service in these areas during the pilot program currently under way across the State, and subsequently, no customers have requested service by an alternative supplier. However, the two utilities that serve this area are moving forward with plans to participate in the September 5 auction of generating capacity.
7/01: The Texas Supreme Court upheld the March PUC settlement with Central Power and Light (a subsidiary of American Electric Power) to securitize approximately $764 million in regulatory assets. Securitization, or refinancing of debt, is the mechanism to recover stranded costs as provided by the Texas restructuring law, SB 7, passed in June 1999.
8/01: The official opening of the pilot program in Texas has been delayed twice, from the original data of June 1 to July 6, and now to at least July 31. The schedule for full implementation of retail open access is still set to begin January 2002.
3/01: A high level of interest in participating in the retail choice pilot program by nonresidential customers is requiring most of the investor-owned utilities to conduct lotteries to choose the allowed 5 percent of their customers who will be allowed to choose their electricity supplier. Beginning in June, 5 percent of each customer class in each of the investor-owned utilities will be allowed to choose their supplier of electricity. The residential participants are being selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3/01: The PUC is overseeing the pilot program set to begin retail competition by June 1, 2001. The pilot program will be open to customers in the State's IOU service territories. Enrollment began in February 2001, and if over 5 percent of customers choose to enroll, a lottery will be held to choose participants.
3/01: The PUC began its consumer education program to promote competition for electricity suppliers. Inserts are being enclosed in bills, and an information website (Texas Electric Choice) and telephone line are now operating.
12/00: The PUC issued a Request for Proposals (RFPs) to select electric service providers to be providers of last resort (POLR). The POLR will serve customers in areas open to competition on January 1, 2002, where the Retail Electric Provider (REP) of choice fails to continue service. According to the PUC's restructuring rules, POLRs must offer a firm, nondiscountable, seasonally differentiated rate to any of three consumer classes: residential, small nonresidential, and large nonresidential. The POLR service is not supposed to be competitive, innovative or anything other than basic standard service.
10/00: The PUC adopted rules for the provider of last resort for when competition begins in early 2002. The rules will allow for continuity of service if a service provider goes out of business or drops a consumer. The provider of last resort will be required to provide to consumers no longer served by their provider of choice with service at a fixed price. A competitive bidding process will designate the last resort providers for each consumer class. Bidding is expected to be completed by June 1, 2001.
4/00: Utilities filed restructuring plans with the State PUC. The plans incorporate how the utilities will implement retail choice by 2002, a mandated rate reduction of 6 percent after January 1, 2002, and how the utilities will separate their business into generation, retail provider, and delivery divisions.
10/99: Southwestern Public Service Company filed its plan for evaluation of market dominance with the PUC, as required by the legislation passed in June. To alleviate market dominance, SPS plans to transfer ownership or control of 595MW of generating capacity. Some entitlements to power will be auctioned, and some generation assets divested (by 2002).
7/98: The PUC approved Texas-New Mexico Power's (TNMP) proposal for retail competition. The plan includes provisions for a pilot program and a 5-year transition to competition. This voluntary plan has a provision that it would be modified to conform with any restructuring legislation passed.
4/98: The PUC is finalizing its plan and recommendations for restructuring and expects to forward it to the legislature within days.
8/96: The PUC authorized the ERCOT ISO, to be operational by July 1997.