|(a) Purpose. This section establishes the requirements
for Provider of Last Resort (POLR) service and ensures 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, must 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 terms when used in this
section have the following meanings, unless the context indicates
(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
(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 - A month-to-month product
that is either offered to or matches the rate of a product offered
to non-POLR customers of the REP for the same TDU territory and customer
class. A month-to-month contract may not contain a termination fee
or penalty. 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
(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
(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
(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 must offer a basic, standard retail
service package to customers it is designated to serve, which is limited
(A) Basic firm service; and
(B) Call center facilities available for customer inquiries.
(5) A POLR provider must, 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 must contain notice to the customer that other competitive
products or services may be available from the LSP or another REP.
The notice must also include contact information for the LSP, and
the Power to Choose website, and must 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 must 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 must 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
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 must 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
(B) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Small
(C) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Medium
(D) Standard Terms of Service, POLR Provider Large
(2) An LSP providing service under a rate prescribed
by subsection (m)(2) of this section must provide each new customer
the applicable Standard Terms of Service. Such Standard Terms of Service
must 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
(1) Each REP must provide information to the commission
in accordance with subsection (h)(1) of this section. Based on this
information, the commission's designated representative will 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
will 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 must 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 must 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 will determine the eligibility
of certified REPs to serve as POLR providers for a term scheduled
to commence in January of the next year.
(1) Each REP must provide information to the commission
necessary to establish its eligibility to serve as a POLR provider
for the next term. A REP must file, by July 10th of each even-numbered
year, by service area, information on the classes of customers it
provides 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 must provide to the commission the
total number of ESI ID and total MWh data for each class. Each REP
must also provide information on its 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 will 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