|(a) Applicability. This section applies to all brokers.
(b) Definitions. The following terms, when used in
this section, have the following meanings unless the context indicates
(1) Broker--As defined in §25.112 of this title
(relating to Registration of Brokers).
(2) Brokerage services--As defined in §25.112
of this title.
(3) Client--A person who receives or solicits brokerage
services from a broker.
(4) Client agent--A broker who has the legal right
and authority to act on behalf of a client regarding the selection
of, enrollment for, or contract execution of a product or service
offered by a retail electric provider (REP), including electric service.
(5) Proprietary client information--Any information
that is compiled by a broker on a client or retail electric customer
that makes possible the identification of any individual client or
retail electric customer by matching such information with the client's
or customer's name, address, retail electric account number, type
or classification of retail electric service, historical electricity
usage, expected patterns of use, types of facilities used in providing
service, individual retail electric or brokerage services contract
terms and conditions, price, current charges, billing records, or
any information that the client or customer has expressly requested
not be disclosed. Information that is redacted or organized in such
a way as to make it impossible to identify the client or customer
to whom the information relates does not constitute proprietary client
(c) Voluntary Alteration of Customer Protections. A
client other than a residential or small commercial class customer
or applicant, or a non-residential customer or applicant whose load
is part of an aggregation in excess of 50 kilowatts, may agree to
a different level of customer protections related to the provision
of brokerage services than is required by this section. Any such agreements
do not change the level of customer protections a client is entitled
to relating to the provision of retail electric service. Any agreements
containing a different level of protections from those required by
this section must be in writing and provided to the client. Copies
of such agreements must be provided to commission staff upon request.
(d) Broker Communications.
(1) All written, electronic, and oral communications,
including advertising, websites, direct marketing materials, and billing
statements produced by a broker must be clear and not misleading,
fraudulent, unfair, deceptive, or anti-competitive. Prohibited communications
include, but are not limited to:
(A) Stating, suggesting, implying or otherwise leading
a client to believe that receiving brokerage services will provide
a customer with more reliable service from a transmission and distribution
(B) Falsely suggesting, implying or otherwise leading
a client to believe that a person is a representative of a TDU, REP,
aggregator, or another broker;
(C) Falsely stating or suggesting that brokerage services
are being provided without compensation; and
(D) Falsely claiming to be the client agent of a customer
(2) All printed advertisements, electronic advertising
over the Internet, and websites must include the broker's registered
(e) Language Requirements. A broker must offer customer
service and any information required by this section to a client in
the language used to market the broker's products and services to
(f) Required Disclosures. A broker must inform a client
of the following prior to the initiation of brokerage services, the
renewal of those services, or a material change in the services provided,
or the terms and conditions of those services:
(1) The broker's registered name, business mailing
address, and contact information;
(2) The broker's commission registration number;
(3) The registered name of any REP that is an affiliate
of the broker;
(4) A clear description of the services the broker
will provide for the client;
(5) The duration of the agreement to provide brokerage
services, if applicable;
(6) A description of how the broker will be compensated
for providing brokerage services and by whom;
(7) How the client can terminate the agreement to provide
brokerage services, if applicable;
(8) The amount of any fee or other cost the client
will incur for terminating the agreement to provide brokerage services,
if applicable; and
(9) The commission's telephone number and email address
for complaints and inquiries.
(g) Client Agent Requirements.
(1) An agreement between a broker and a client that
authorizes the broker to act as a client agent for the client must
be in writing.
(2) In addition to the requirements of subsection (f)
of this section, a broker that acts as a client agent for the client
must inform the client of the following:
(A) A clear description of the actions the broker is
authorized to take on the client's behalf;
(B) The duration of the agency relationship;
(C) How the client can terminate the agency agreement;
(D) The amount of any fee or other cost the client
will incur for terminating the agency agreement; and
(E) How the client's customer data, including proprietary
client information, and account access information will be used, protected,
and retained by the broker and disposed of at the conclusion of the
(3) A broker that is authorized to act as a client
agent for the client must provide evidence of that authority upon
request of the client, commission staff, or a REP with which the broker
seeks to enroll the client.
(4) For purposes of §25.474 of this title (relating
to Selection of Retail Electric Provider), a REP may rely upon the
representations made by a client agent provided that the client agent
is registered with the commission and provides evidence of agency
(h) Unauthorized Charges and Unauthorized Changes of
Retail Electric Provider.
(1) Unauthorized charges. A broker must not bill an
unauthorized charge or cause an unauthorized charge to be billed to
a customer's retail electric service bill.
(2) Unauthorized service changes. A broker must not
switch or cause to be switched the REP of a customer without first
obtaining the customer's authorization.
(i) Discrimination Prohibited. A broker must not unduly
refuse to provide brokerage services or otherwise unduly discriminate
in the provision of brokerage services to any client because of race,
creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, source
or level of income, disability, or familial status; or refuse to provide
brokerage services to a client because the client is located in an
economically distressed geographic area or qualifies for low-income
affordability or energy efficiency services; or otherwise unreasonably
discriminate on the basis of the geographic location of a client.
(j) Proprietary Client Information.
(1) A broker must not release proprietary client information
to any person unless the client authorizes the release in writing.
This prohibition does not apply to the release of such information
to the commission.
(2) A broker is not permitted to sell, make available
for sale, or authorize the sale of any client-specific information
or data obtained unless the client authorizes the sale in writing.
(k) Client Access and Complaint Handling.
(1) Client Access. Each broker must ensure that clients
have reasonable access to its service representatives to make inquiries
and complaints, discuss charges on bills or any other aspect of the
brokerage services provided to the client by the broker, terminate
an agreement to provide services, and transact any other pertinent
business. A broker must promptly investigate client complaints and
advise the complainant of the results. A broker must inform the complainant
of the commission's informal complaint resolution process and the
following contact information for the commission within 21 days of
receiving the complaint: Public Utility Commission of Texas, Customer
Protection Division, P.O. Box 13326, Austin, Texas 78711-3326; (512)
936-7120 or in Texas (toll-free) 1-888-782-8477, fax (512) 936-7003,
e-mail address: email@example.com, Internet website address:
www.puc.texas.gov, TTY (512) 936-7136, and Relay Texas (toll-free)
(2) Complaint Handling. A client has the right to make
a formal or informal complaint to the commission. A broker may not
use a written or verbal agreement with a client to impair this right
for a client that is a residential or small commercial customer. A
broker must not require a client that is a residential or small commercial
customer to engage in alternative dispute resolution, including requiring
complaints to be submitted to arbitration or mediation by third parties.
(3) Informal Complaints.
(A) A person may file an informal complaint with the
commission by contacting the commission at: Public Utility Commission
of Texas, Customer Protection Division, P.O. Box 13326, Austin, Texas
78711-3326; (512) 936-7120 or in Texas (toll-free) 1-888-782-8477,
fax (512) 936-7003, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet
website address: www.puc.texas.gov, TTY (512) 936-7136, and Relay
Texas (toll-free) 1-800-735-2989.
(B) A complaint should include the following information,
(i) The complainant's name, billing and service address,
telephone number and email address, if any;
(ii) The name of the broker;
(iii) The broker's registration number;
(iv) The name of any relevant REP;
(v) The customer account number or electric service
(vi) An explanation of the facts relevant to the complaint;
(vii) The complainant's requested resolution; and
(viii) Any documentation that supports the complaint.
(C) The commission will forward the informal complaint
to the broker.
(D) The broker must investigate each informal complaint
forwarded to the broker by the commission and advise the commission
in writing of the results of the investigation within 21 days after
the complaint is forwarded to the broker by the commission.
(E) The commission will review the complaint information
and the broker's response and notify the complainant of the results
of the commission's investigation.
(F) The broker must keep a record for two years after
receiving notification by the commission that the complaint has been
closed. This record must show the name and address of the complainant,
the date, nature, and outcome of the complaint.
(G) While an informal complaint process is pending,
the broker must not initiate collection activities, including a report
of the customer's delinquency to a credit reporting agency, with respect
to the disputed portion of the bill.
(4) Formal Complaints. If the complainant is not satisfied
with the results of the informal complaint process, the complainant
may file a formal complaint with the commission within two years of
the date on which the commission closes the informal complaint. Formal
complaints will be docketed as provided in the commission's procedural
(l) Record Retention.
(1) A broker must establish and maintain records and
data that are sufficient to:
(A) Verify its compliance with the requirements of
any applicable commission rules; and
(B) Support any investigation of customer complaints.
(2) All records required by this section must be retained
for no less than two years, unless otherwise specified.
(3) Unless otherwise prescribed by the commission or
its authorized representative, all records required by this subchapter
must be provided to the commission within 15 calendar days of its