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RULE §1.23Complaint Proceedings

(a) Filing of complaint. Complaints relating to matters within the Commission's jurisdiction shall be in writing and contain a detailed description of the allegations against the respondent. The complainant shall serve the complaint on the respondent and simultaneously file it with the applicable division of the Commission. The division receiving the complaint shall transfer it to the Hearings Division. If the complainant amends the complaint, the complainant shall serve the amended complaint on the respondent and simultaneously file it with the Docket Services Section.

(b) Burden of proof. The complainant in a complaint proceeding shall have the burden of proof which is a preponderance of the evidence. In the interest of justice, the examiner may modify the burden of proof pursuant to §1.110 of this title (relating to Burden of Proof).

(c) Notice of complaint. When a complaint is filed, the Commission shall forward the complaint to the respondent and attach a letter stating:

  (1) the respondent has 20 days from the date of the letter to either file an answer or request a hearing to contest the allegations of the original complaint; and

  (2) that a default order may be entered against the respondent if the respondent fails to answer, request a hearing, or appear at the hearing, if a hearing is requested.

(d) Respondent's answer.

  (1) The respondent shall answer the complaint in writing, by either specifically denying the material allegations of the complaint or alleging an affirmative defense. Alternatively, the respondent may request a hearing which shall serve as a general denial of the allegations in the original complaint.

  (2) If the complaint is thereafter amended, the time period for the filing and service of the answer shall, unless otherwise ordered, run from the service of such amended complaint. The original answer shall be considered as the answer to the amended complaint unless a new answer is filed in response to the amended complaint.

(e) Default order. If the respondent fails to answer, request a hearing, or appear at the hearing, the examiner may find the respondent to be in default and prepare a default final order to be presented to the Commission without further notice.

(f) Dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of Commission or standing of complainant.

  (1) If the Commission finds, either on the face of the complaint or after motion of the respondent, that the Commission lacks jurisdiction or the complainant lacks standing, the Hearings Director or the Commissioners shall dismiss the complaint as to such allegation or complainant.

  (2) Any dismissal order entered by the Hearings Director is subject to review by an appeal to the Commissioners. The appeal shall follow the same requirements set forth in §1.38(e) of this title (relating to Interim Rulings and Appeals of Interim Rulings).

(g) Retail customers served by a gas utility as defined in Texas Utilities Code §§101.003(7), (8), and 121.001 - 121.006, must first attempt an informal resolution pursuant to §7.45 of this title (relating to Quality of Service) before pursuing a claim against a gas utility under this section.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.23 adopted to be effective August 21, 2017, 42 TexReg 4131

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