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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 2PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 25SUBSTANTIVE RULES APPLICABLE TO ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
SUBCHAPTER BCUSTOMER SERVICE AND PROTECTION
RULE §25.43Provider of Last Resort (POLR)

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish the requirements for Provider of Last Resort (POLR) service and ensure that it is available to any requesting retail customer and any retail customer who is transferred to another retail electric provider (REP) by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) because the customer's REP failed to provide service to the customer or failed to meet its obligations to the independent organization.

(b) Application. The provisions of this section relating to the selection of REPs providing POLR service apply to all REPs that are serving retail customers in transmission and distribution utility (TDU) service areas. This section does not apply when an electric cooperative or a municipally owned utility (MOU) designates a POLR provider for its certificated service area. However, this section is applicable when an electric cooperative delegates its authority to the commission in accordance with subsection (r) of this section to select a POLR provider for the electric cooperative's service area. All filings made with the commission pursuant to this section, including filings subject to a claim of confidentiality, shall be filed with the commission's Filing Clerk in accordance with the commission's Procedural Rules, Chapter 22, Subchapter E, of this title (relating to Pleadings and other Documents).

(c) Definitions. The following words and terms when used in this section shall have the following meaning, unless the context indicates otherwise:

  (1) Affiliate--As defined in §25.107 of this title (relating to Certification of Retail Electric Providers (REPs).

  (2) Basic firm service--Electric service that is not subject to interruption for economic reasons and that does not include value-added options offered in the competitive market. Basic firm service excludes, among other competitively offered options, emergency or back-up service, and stand-by service. For purposes of this definition, the phrase "interruption for economic reasons" does not mean disconnection for non-payment.

  (3) Billing cycle--A period bounded by a start date and stop date that REPs and TDUs use to determine when a customer used electric service.

  (4) Billing month--Generally a calendar accounting period (approximately 30 days) for recording revenue, which may or may not coincide with the period a customer's consumption is recorded through the customer's meter.

  (5) Business day--As defined by the ERCOT Protocols.

  (6) Large non-residential customer--A non-residential customer who had a peak demand in the previous 12-month period at or above one megawatt (MW).

  (7) Large service provider (LSP)--A REP that is designated to provide POLR service pursuant to subsection (j) of this section.

  (8) Market-based product--For purposes of this section, a rate for residential customers that is derived by applying a positive or negative multiplier to the rate described in subsection (m)(2) of this section is not a market-based product.

  (9) Mass transition--The transfer of customers as represented by ESI IDs from a REP to one or more POLR providers pursuant to a transaction initiated by the independent organization that carries the mass transition (TS) code or other code designated by the independent organization.

  (10) Medium non-residential customer--A non-residential retail customer who had a peak demand in the previous 12-month period of 50 kilowatt (kW) or greater, but less than 1,000 kW.

  (11) POLR area--The service area of a TDU in an area where customer choice is in effect.

  (12) POLR provider--A volunteer retail electric provider (VREP) or LSP that may be required to provide POLR service pursuant to this section.

  (13) Residential customer--A retail customer classified as residential by the applicable TDU tariff or, in the absence of classification under a tariff, a retail customer who purchases electricity for personal, family, or household purposes.

  (14) Transitioned customer--A customer as represented by ESI IDs that is served by a POLR provider as a result of a mass transition under this section.

  (15) Small non-residential customer--A non-residential retail customer who had a peak demand in the previous 12-month period of less than 50 kW.

  (16) Voluntary retail electric provider (VREP)--A REP that has volunteered to provide POLR service pursuant to subsection (i) of this section.

(d) POLR service.

  (1) There are two types of POLR providers: VREPs and LSPs.

  (2) For the purpose of POLR service, there are four classes of customers: residential, small non-residential, medium non-residential, and large non-residential.

  (3) A VREP or LSP may be designated to serve any or all of the four customer classes in a POLR area.

  (4) A POLR provider shall offer a basic, standard retail service package to customers it is designated to serve, which shall be limited to:

    (A) Basic firm service; and

    (B) Call center facilities available for customer inquiries.

  (5) A POLR provider shall, in accordance with §25.108 of this title (relating to Financial Standards for Retail Electric Providers Regarding the Billing and Collection of Transition Charges), fulfill billing and collection duties for REPs that have defaulted on payments to the servicer of transition bonds or to TDUs.

  (6) Each LSP's customer billing for residential customers taking POLR service under a rate prescribed by subsection (m)(2) of this section shall contain notice to the customer that other competitive products or services may be available from the LSP or another REP. The notice shall also include contact information for the LSP, and the Power to Choose website, and shall include a notice from the commission in the form of a bill insert or a bill message with the header "An Important Message from the Public Utility Commission Regarding Your Electric Service" addressing why the customer has been transitioned to an LSP, a description of the purpose and nature of POLR service, and explaining that more information on competitive markets can be found at www.powertochoose.org, or toll-free at 1-866-PWR-4-TEX (1-866-797-4839).

(e) Standards of service.

  (1) An LSP designated to serve a class in a given POLR area shall serve any eligible customer requesting POLR service or assigned to the LSP pursuant to a mass transition in accordance with the Standard Terms of Service in subsection (f)(1) of this section for the provider customer's class. However, in lieu of providing terms of service to a transitioned customer under subsection (f) of this section and under a rate prescribed by subsection (m)(2) of this section an LSP may at its discretion serve the customer pursuant to a market-based month-to-month product, provided it serves all transitioned customers in the same class and POLR area pursuant to the product.

  (2) A POLR provider shall abide by the applicable customer protection rules as provided for under Subchapter R of this chapter (relating to Customer Protection Rules for Retail Electric Service), except that if there is an inconsistency or conflict between this section and Subchapter R of this chapter, the provisions of this section shall apply. However, for the medium non-residential customer class, the customer protection rules as provided for under Subchapter R of this chapter do not apply, except for §25.481 of this title (relating to Unauthorized Charges), §25.485(a)-(b) of this title (relating to Customer Access and Complaint Handling), and §25.495 of this title (relating to Unauthorized Change of Retail Electric Provider).

  (3) An LSP that has received commission approval to designate one of its affiliates to provide POLR service on behalf of the LSP pursuant to subsection (k) of this section shall retain responsibility for the provision of POLR service by the LSP affiliate and remains liable for violations of applicable laws and commission rules and all financial obligations of the LSP affiliate associated with the provisioning of POLR service on its behalf by the LSP affiliate.

(f) Customer information.

  (1) The Standard Terms of Service prescribed in subparagraphs (A)-(D) of this paragraph apply to POLR service provided by an LSP under a rate prescribed by subsection (m)(2) of this section.

    (A) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Residential Service:

Attached Graphic

    (B) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Small Non-Residential Service:

Attached Graphic

    (C) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Medium Non-Residential Service:

Attached Graphic

    (D) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Large Non-Residential Service:

Attached Graphic

  (2) An LSP providing service under a rate prescribed by subsection (m)(2) of this section shall provide each new customer the applicable Standard Terms of Service. Such Standard Terms of Service shall be updated as required under §25.475(f) of this title (relating to General Retail Electric Provider Requirements and Information Disclosures to Residential and Small Commercial Customers).

(g) General description of POLR service provider selection process.

  (1) All REPs shall provide information to the commission in accordance with subsection (h)(1) of this section. Based on this information, the commission's designated representative shall designate REPs that are eligible to serve as POLR providers in areas of the state in which customer choice is in effect, except that the commission shall not designate POLR providers in the service areas of MOUs or electric cooperatives unless an electric cooperative has delegated to the commission its authority to designate the POLR provider, in accordance with subsection (r) of this section.

  (2) POLR providers shall serve two-year terms. The initial term for POLR service in areas of the state where retail choice is not in effect as of the effective date of the rule shall be set at the time POLR providers are initially selected in such areas.

(h) REP eligibility to serve as a POLR provider. In each even-numbered year, the commission shall determine the eligibility of certified REPs to serve as POLR providers for a term scheduled to commence in January of the next year.

  (1) All REPs shall provide information to the commission necessary to establish their eligibility to serve as a POLR provider for the next term. REPs shall file, by July 10th, of each even-numbered year, by service area, information on the classes of customers they provide service to, and for each customer class, the number of ESI IDs the REP serves and the retail sales in megawatt-hours for the annual period ending March 31 of the current year. As part of that filing, a REP may request that the commission designate one of its affiliates to provide POLR service on its behalf pursuant to subsection (k) of this section in the event that the REP is designated as an LSP. The independent organization shall provide to the commission the total number of ESI ID and total MWh data for each class. All REPs shall also provide information on their technical capability and financial ability to provide service to additional customers in a mass transition. The commission's determination regarding eligibility of a REP to serve as POLR provider under the provisions of this section shall not be considered confidential information.

  (2) Eligibility to be designated as a POLR provider is specific to each POLR area and customer class. A REP is eligible to be designated a POLR provider for a particular customer class in a POLR area, unless:

    (A) A proceeding to revoke or suspend the REP's certificate is pending at the commission, the REP's certificate has been suspended or revoked by the commission, or the REP's certificate is deemed suspended pursuant to §25.107 of this title (relating to Certification of Retail Electric Providers (REPs));

    (B) The sum of the numeric portion of the REP's percentage of ESI IDs served and percentage of retail sales by MWhs in the POLR area, for the particular class, is less than 1.0;

    (C) The commission does not reasonably expect the REP to be able to meet the criteria set forth in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph during the entirety of the term;

    (D) On the date of the commencement of the term, the REP or its predecessor will not have served customers in Texas for at least 18 months;

    (E) The REP does not serve the applicable customer class, or does not have an executed delivery service agreement with the service area TDU;

    (F) The REP is certificated as an Option 2 REP under §25.107 of this title;

    (G) The REP's customers are limited to its own affiliates;

    (H) A REP files an affidavit stating that it does not serve small or medium non-residential customers, except for the low-usage sites of the REP's large non-residential customers, or commonly owned or franchised affiliates of the REP's large non-residential customers and opts out of eligibility for either, or both of the small or medium non-residential customer classes; or

Cont'd...

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