<<Prev Rule

Texas Administrative Code

Next Rule>>
TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 2PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 25SUBSTANTIVE RULES APPLICABLE TO ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
SUBCHAPTER KRELATIONSHIPS WITH AFFILIATES
RULE §25.275Code of Conduct for Municipally Owned Utilities and Electric Cooperatives Engaged in Competitive Activities

(a) Purpose. To protect against anticompetitive practices, consistent with the provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) §39.157(e) and Chapters 40 and 41, the provisions of this section establish safeguards to govern the interaction between the transmission and distribution business unit (TDBU), as defined in subsection (c) of this section, of a municipally owned utility (MOU) or electric cooperative (COOP) and its competitive affiliates, and establish specific anticompetitive standards to apply to the activities of Bundled MOU/COOPS, as defined in subsection (c) of this section. It is intended by this section that no MOU/COOP subject to this section shall engage in the following anticompetitive practices:

  (1) Subsidize competitive activities directly or indirectly through rates charged for the provision of electric service;

  (2) Allow discriminatory access to transmission and distribution products and services;

  (3) Allow preferential access to transmission and distribution-related information;

  (4) Allow unauthorized access to confidential customer information; and

  (5) Allow employees performing transmission and distribution functions to provide leads to or promote the products of competitive affiliates or any persons providing competitive energy-related activities on behalf of a Bundled MOU/COOP.

(b) Application.

  (1) General application. This section applies to the TDBU of a municipally owned utility or an electric cooperative (collectively referred to as MOU/COOP) operating in the State of Texas, and the transactions or activities between the TDBU and its competitive affiliates, and to an MOU/COOP that is conducting the activities of a TDBU and of a competitive affiliate on a bundled basis, provided that each of the following conditions is met:

    (A) The MOU/COOP has chosen to participate in customer choice pursuant to PURA §40.051(b) or PURA §41.051(b).

    (B) The competitive affiliate of an MOU/COOP or a Bundled MOU/COOP is providing electric energy at retail to consumers in Texas outside its certificated retail service area. For the purposes of this section, an MOU/COOP shall not be considered to be providing electric energy to retail consumers outside its certificated retail service area if:

      (i) the MOU/COOP was serving the area prior to the date of customer choice;

      (ii) after receiving notice that the MOU/COOP or its affiliate is selling electric energy at retail outside its retail service area, which identifies the service location, the MOU/COOP or its affiliate promptly investigates and thereafter takes reasonable steps to cease the provision of service outside its service area as soon as reasonably practicable; or

      (iii) there is a dispute concerning the service area boundary and no commission order resolving the dispute has become final or the commission's order is subject to appeal.

  (2) Effect of unbundling on application. Pursuant to PURA §40.055 and §41.055 it is the discretion of the governing body of the MOU/COOP to determine whether to unbundle any energy-related activities, and whether to do so structurally or functionally. The MOU/COOP shall file with the commission, in conjunction with the filing required by subsections (n)(1)(A) or (o)(3)(A) of this section, a written declaration of whether it chooses to structurally or functionally unbundle or whether it will provide services in a competitive market on a bundled basis. The written declaration may be amended from time to time but no amendment shall be effective before it is filed with the commission. The MOU/COOP shall comply with this section as follows:

    (A) A structurally or functionally unbundled MOU/COOP shall comply with the provisions of this subsection, as applicable to entities of its size. Subsection (o) of this section is not applicable to a functionally or structurally unbundled MOU/COOP.

    (B) A Bundled MOU/COOP shall comply with the requirements of paragraphs (5) and (7)-(9) of this subsection, subsection (n)(2)-(10), and subsection (o) of this section.

  (3) Small TDBU. A small unbundled TDBU is subject to the following provisions of this section only:

    (A) paragraphs (1) and (5)-(9) of this subsection, application;

    (B) subsection (i)(4) of this section, separate books and records;

    (C) subsection (j)(1) of this section, transactions with competitive affiliates; however, transactions provided for under subsection (j)(1) of this section shall be conducted at pricing levels that are fair and reasonable to the customers of the small TDBU and that reflect not less than the book value of the assets and the cost of employee time determined on the basis of aggregate percentage of time devoted by the employee to the competitive function or transmission and distribution function and do not include any discounts, rebates, fee waivers or alternative tariff terms and conditions;

    (D) subsection (k)(1) of this section, tying arrangements prohibited;

    (E) subsection (k)(2) of this section, products and services available on a non-discriminatory basis; and

    (F) subsection (n) of this section, remedies and enforcement.

  (4) Mid-size TDBU. A mid-size unbundled TDBU is subject to the following provisions of this section only:

    (A) paragraphs (1) and (5)-(9) of this subsection, application;

    (B) subsection (d) of this section, annual report of code-related activities; however, a mid-size TDBU shall report only with respect to the activities for which it is subject to regulation under this section;

    (C) subsection (e) of this section, copies of contracts or agreements;

    (D) subsection (f) of this section, tracking migration and sharing of employees;

    (E) subsection (g) of this section, reporting deviations from the code of conduct; however, a mid-sized TDBU shall only report deviations with respect to the activities for which it is subject to regulation under this section;

    (F) subsection (h) of this section, ensuring compliance for new competitive affiliates;

    (G) subsection (i) of this section, separation of a TDBU from its competitive affiliates; however, sharing of employees, facilities, or other resources with competitive affiliates shall be allowed, and the safeguards shall be deemed achieved through compliance with the transactional, information transfer, and marketing and advertising standards applicable to a mid-size TDBU under subsections (j), (k), and (l) of this section;

    (H) subsection (j)(1) of this section, transactions with competitive affiliates; however, transactions provided for under subsection (j)(1) of this section shall be conducted at pricing levels that are fair and reasonable to the customers of the mid-size TDBU and that reflect not less than the book value of the assets and the cost of employee time determined on the basis of aggregate percentage of time devoted by the employee to the competitive function or transmission and distribution function and do not include any discounts, rebates, fee waivers or alternative tariff terms and conditions;

    (I) subsection (j)(2) of this section, records of transactions;

    (J) subsection (j)(3) of this section, provision of corporate support services, except to the extent that sharing of confidential information may not practicably be avoided due to cross-functional responsibilities of employees;

    (K) subsection (k)(1) of this section, tying arrangements prohibited;

    (L) subsection (k)(2) of this section, products and services available on a non-discriminatory basis;

    (M) subsection (l)(1) of this section, proprietary customer information;

    (N) subsection (1)(2) of this section, nondiscriminatory availability of aggregate customer information. A mid-size TDBU shall make aggregate customer information available to all non-affiliates under the same terms and conditions and at the same price or fully allocated cost that it is made available to any of its competitive affiliates, but is not otherwise subject to the reporting requirements in subsection (l)(2) of this section.

    (O) subsection (l)(3) of this section, no preferential access to transmission and distribution information. A mid-size TDBU shall comply with this paragraph except to the extent preferential access may not practicably be avoided due to cross-functional responsibilities of employees or other operating constraints as reasonably determined by the mid-size TDBU;

    (P) instead of the restrictions in subsection (m)(2) of this section, a mid-sized TDBU may participate in joint marketing, advertising, and promotional activities with a competitive affiliate, provided that the mid-size TDBU informs the customer that the competitive energy services to which the promotional activities are directed are available from other providers as well as the mid-size TDBU and makes available to the customer upon request a copy of the most recent list of competitive energy service providers as developed and maintained by the commission;

    (Q) instead of the restrictions in subsections (m)(3) and (m)(4) of this section, if a customer or potential customer of a mid-size TDBU makes an unsolicited request for distribution service, competitive service, or information relating to such services, the mid-size TDBU shall inform the customer that competitive energy-related activities are available not only from the mid-size TDBU but also from other providers. The mid-size TDBU shall make available to a customer upon request a copy of the most recent list of competitive energy service providers as developed and maintained by the commission and may make available telephone numbers and other commonly available information; and

    (R) subsection (n) of this section, remedies and enforcement.

  (5) Duration of code application. This section applies to a TDBU and a Bundled MOU/COOP, regardless of whether it is classified as large, mid-size or small, only so long as each of the conditions of paragraph (1) of this subsection continue to be met.

  (6) Report of energy system sales and declaration of code applicability. A report of total metered electric energy (MWh) delivered through the TDBU's system for sale at retail and wholesale, for the average of the three most recent calendar years, shall be filed annually with the commission by each MOU/COOP subject to the provisions of this section. The initial report shall be filed in conjunction with subsection (n)(1) of this section. After the initial report filing, the report of energy system sales shall be filed annually by June 1, and shall encompass the period from January 1 through December 31 of the preceding year. The annual report of energy system sales shall be filed under a control number designated by the commission for each calendar year. Both the initial and annual reports of energy sales shall include a statement from the MOU/COOP affirming that it is classified as either a small, mid-size, or large TDBU.

    (A) In the event that the MWhs delivered through the TDBU's system increase so that a TDBU is reclassified to a larger size, the TDBU shall notify the commission through the annual report of energy system sales. The TDBU shall have one year from the date of the reclassification to implement the applicable provisions of this section.

    (B) Petition for exception to reclassification. Any TDBU may petition the commission for exception to the size determination. Upon request, if a small TDBU is reclassified as a mid-sized TDBU, the commission may consider an adjustment for growth based upon total Texas retail sales.

  (7) No circumvention of the code of conduct. An MOU/COOP shall not circumvent the provisions of PURA §39.157(e) or this section by using any affiliate to provide information, services, products, or subsidies that would be prohibited by this section between a competitive affiliate and a TDBU. A Bundled MOU/COOP shall not circumvent the provisions of PURA §39.157(e) or this section by using any persons to provide information, services, products, or subsidies that would be prohibited by this section between persons providing transmission and distribution service on behalf of the Bundled MOU/COOP and persons providing competitive energy-related activities on behalf of the Bundled MOU/COOP.

  (8) Good cause exception. An MOU/COOP that is or may become subject to this section may petition the commission at any time for an exception or waiver of any provision of this section on a showing of good cause. Good cause may be demonstrated by showing that the cost or difficulty of achieving compliance outweighs the benefit to be achieved or that there are other alternative actions that are likely to produce reasonable results under the circumstances.

  (9) Notice of conflict with other regulation and petition for waiver. Nothing in this section shall affect or modify the obligation or duties relating to any rules or standards of conduct that may apply to an MOU/COOP or its affiliates, whether competitive or noncompetitive, under orders or regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or shall violate PURA, Chapters 40 and 41, subchapter C. An MOU/COOP shall file with the commission a notice of any provision in this section that conflicts with FERC or SEC orders or regulations. An MOU/COOP that is subject to statutes or regulations in any state that conflict with a provision of this section may petition the commission for a waiver of the conflicting provision on a showing of good cause.

Cont'd...

Next Page

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page