<<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 RCUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
RULE §25.480Bill Payment and Adjustments

    (B) As directed by the commission, during a state of disaster declared by the governor pursuant to Texas Government Code §418.014, a REP shall offer a deferred payment plan to customers, upon request, in the area covered by the declaration.

    (C) A REP shall offer a deferred payment plan to a customer who has been underbilled, pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

  (2) A REP shall make a payment plan available, upon request, to a residential customer that meets the requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph for a bill that becomes due in July, August, or September. A REP shall make a payment plan available, upon request, to a residential customer that meets the requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph for a bill that becomes due in January or February if in the prior month a TDU notified the commission pursuant to §25.483(j) of this title of an extreme weather emergency for the residential customer's county in the TDU service area for at least five consecutive days during the month. A REP is not required to offer a payment plan to a customer pursuant to this paragraph if the customer is on an existing deferred, level, or average payment plan.

    (A) The following residential customers are eligible for a payment plan under this paragraph:

      (i) customers designated as Critical Care Residential Customers or Chronic Condition Residential Customers under §25.497 of this title (relating to Critical Load Industrial Customers, Critical Load Public Safety Customers, Critical Care Residential Customers, and Chronic Condition Residential Customers); or

      (ii) customers who have expressed an inability to pay unless the customer:

        (I) has been disconnected during the preceding 12 months;

        (II) has submitted more than two payments during the preceding 12 months that were found to have insufficient funds available; or

        (III) has received service from the REP for less than three months, and the customer lacks:

          (-a-) sufficient credit; or

          (-b-) a satisfactory history of payment for electric service from a previous REP or utility.

    (B) The REP shall make available, at the customer's option, the plans described in clauses (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph.

      (i) A deferred payment plan with the initial payment amount no greater than 50% of the amount due. The deferred amount shall be paid by the customer in equal installments over at least five billing cycles unless the customer agrees to fewer installments.

      (ii) A level or average payment plan instead of requiring the balance due to be paid. The level or average payment plan shall be offered subject to the requirements of subsection (h) of this section.

    (C) The REP shall not seek an additional deposit as a result of a customer's entering into a deferred payment plan under this paragraph.

  (3) A REP shall not refuse customer participation in a deferred payment plan on any basis set forth in §25.471(c) of this title (relating to General Provisions of Customer Protection Rules).

  (4) A REP may voluntarily offer a deferred payment plan to customers who have expressed an inability to pay.

  (5) A copy of the deferred payment plan shall be provided to the customer and:

    (A) shall include a statement, in a clear and conspicuous type, that states "If you are not satisfied with this agreement, or if the agreement was made by telephone and you feel this does not reflect your understanding of that agreement, contact (insert name and contact number of REP).";

    (B) if a switch-hold will apply, shall include a statement, in a clear and conspicuous type, that states "By entering into this agreement, you understand that {company name} will put a switch-hold on your account. A switch-hold means that you will not be able to buy electricity from other companies until you pay this past due amount. The switch-hold will be removed after your final payment on this past due amount is processed. While a switch-hold applies, if you are disconnected for not paying, you will need to pay {us or company name}, to get your electricity turned back on.";

    (C) where the customer and the REP's representative or agent meets in person, the representative shall read the statements in subparagraph (A) and, if applicable, subparagraph (B) of this paragraph to the customer;

    (D) may include the one-time penalty in accordance with subsection (c) of this section but shall not include a finance charge;

    (E) shall state the length of time covered by the plan;

    (F) shall state the total amount to be paid under the plan;

    (G) shall state the specific amount of each installment;

    (H) shall state whether the amount of the deferred balance will appear on each bill the customer receives and that the customer may call the REP at any time to determine the amount that must be paid to satisfy the terms of the deferred payment plan; and

    (I) shall state whether there may be a disconnection of service if the customer does not fulfill the terms of the deferred payment plan, and shall state the terms for disconnection.

  (6) A REP may pursue disconnection of service if a customer does not meet the terms of a deferred payment plan. However, service shall not be disconnected until appropriate notice has been issued, pursuant to §25.483 of this title, notifying the customer that the customer has not met the terms of the plan. The requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection shall not apply with respect to a customer who has defaulted on a deferred payment plan.

  (7) A REP may apply a switch-hold while the customer is on a deferred payment plan.

  (8) The REP, through a standard market process, shall submit a request to remove the switch-hold, pursuant to subsection (m) of this section, after the customer's payment of the deferred balance owed to the REP. On the day the REP submits the request to remove the switch-hold, the REP shall notify or send notice to the customer that the customer has satisfied the obligation to pay any deferred balance owed and the removal of the switch-hold is being processed.

(k) Allocation of partial payments. A REP shall allocate a partial payment by the customer first to the oldest balance due for electric service, followed by the current amount due for electric service. When there is no longer a balance for electric service, payment may be applied to non-electric services billed by the REP. Electric service shall not be disconnected for non-payment of non-electric services.

(l) Switch-hold.

  (1) A REP may request that the TDU place a switch-hold on an ESI ID to the extent allowed by subsection (h) or (j) of this section, which shall prevent a switch transaction from being completed for the ESI ID and shall prevent a move-in transaction from being completed pending documentation that the applicant for electric service is a new occupant not associated with the customer for which the switch-hold was imposed. If the REP exercises its right to disconnect service for non-payment pursuant to §25.483 of this title, the switch-hold shall continue to remain in place. The TDU shall create and maintain a secure list of ESI IDs with switch-holds that REPs may access. The list shall not include any customer information other than the ESI ID and date the switch-hold was placed. The list shall be updated daily, and made available through a secure means by the TDU. The TDU may provide this list in a secure format through the web portal developed as part of its AMS deployment.

    (A) The REP via a standard market process may request a switch-hold.

    (B) The REP shall submit a request to remove the switch-hold as required by subsections (h)(9) and (j)(8) of this section.

    (C) When the REP of record issues a move-out request for the flagged ESI ID, the REP of record's relationship with the ESI ID is terminated and the switch-hold shall be removed.

    (D) At the time of a mass transition, the TDU shall remove the switch-hold flag for any ESI ID that is transitioned to a provider of last resort (POLR) provider.

    (E) When the applicant for electric service is shown to be a new occupant not associated with the customer for which the switch-hold was imposed using the switch-hold process described in §25.126 of this title, the switch-hold flag shall be removed.

    (F) For a move-in transaction indicating that the ESI ID is subject to a continuous service agreement, the TDU shall remove any switch-hold on that ESI ID and complete the move-in.

  (2) In the first TX SET release after January 1, 2011, market transactions shall be developed that support the following requirements.

    (A) REPs may request a switch-hold as allowed by subsection (h) or (j) of this section.

    (B) TDUs shall provide indication of which ESI IDs have switch-holds so that during a move-in enrollment a REP can identify whether a switch-hold applies and that specific documentation must be submitted to have the switch-hold removed.

    (C) A move-in subject to a switch-hold can be submitted for processing when the customer initially requests the move-in and such transaction will be held in the system for final processing depending on the approval or rejection of the move-in documentation. The TDU shall notify the submitting REP that there is a switch-hold on the ESI ID.

  (3) The requirements of §25.475 of this title (relating to General Retail Electric Provider Requirements and Information Disclosures to Residential and Small Commercial Customers) shall continue to apply while a customer is subject to a switch-hold. The notice required by §25.475(e) of this title shall include a statement reminding the customer that if a switch-hold is in effect, the balance deferred must be paid in full before the customer will be able to change to a new provider.

  (4) A customer who is subject to a switch-hold shall not be charged any separate fees for a switch-hold or any customer service or administrative fees related to the switch-hold.

  (5) A REP shall not discriminate against any customer that is on a switch-hold in the provision of services or pricing of products. A customer on a switch-hold shall be eligible for all services and products generally available to the REPs other customers.

  (6) If a REP applies a switch-hold to a customer account and the customer's contract expires while under the switch-hold, the REP shall provide notice of the contract expiration as required by §25.475 of this title. Unless a customer affirmatively chooses a different product with the REP, a customer whose term product expires while the customer is subject to a switch-hold shall be moved to the lowest priced month-to-month product currently offered by the REP to new applicants, or, if the REP does not offer month-to-month products to new applicants, shall be served on a month-to-month basis at the price equivalent to the lowest price of the shortest term fixed product currently offered by the REP to new applicants. Otherwise, the REP shall request the removal of the switch-hold in compliance with subsection (m) of this section. The offers shall include those made on www.powertochoose.com. If the customer does not affirmatively choose a product, the customer shall not be required by the REP to enter into another contract term so long as the switch-hold remains on the customer account and no early termination fees shall be applied to the customer's account.

(m) Placement and Removal of Switch-Holds.

  (1) A REP may request a switch-hold only as allowed under this section.

  (2) A REP shall be responsible for requesting that the TDU remove a switch-hold after the customer's obligation to the REP related to the switch-hold is satisfied. If a customer's obligation to the REP is satisfied by 10:00 p.m. on a business day, the REP shall send a request to the TDU to remove the switch-hold by Noon (12:00 p.m.) of the next business day. If the TDU receives the request by 1:00 p.m. on a business day, the TDU shall remove the switch-hold by 8:00 p.m. of the same business day in which it receives the request to remove the switch-hold from the REP.

  (3) The REP shall submit a request to remove a switch-hold pursuant to subsection (l)(6) of this section to the TDU, such that the TDU will remove the switch-hold on or before the customer's contract expiration date.

  (4) If a REP erroneously places a switch-hold flag on an ESI ID, thus preventing a legitimate switch, or does not remove the switch-hold within the timeline described in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the REP shall be considered to have committed a Class B Violation (as defined in §25.8(b) of this title (relating to Classification System for Violations of Statutes, Rules, and Orders Applicable to Electric Service Providers)) for purposes of any administrative penalties imposed by the commission.

(n) Annual reporting requirement. In its annual report filed pursuant to §25.107 of this title (relating to Certification of Retail Electric Providers (REPs)) and §25.491 of this title (relating to Record Retention and Reporting Requirements), each REP shall include:

  (1) A statement summarizing any low-income payment options and low-income payment assistance programs that are offered by or available from the REP;

  (2) Information regarding a REP's bill payment assistance program created pursuant to subsection (g) of this section shall include:

    (A) the total amount of customer donations;

    (B) the amount of money set aside for bill payment assistance;

    (C) the assistance agency or agencies selected to disburse funds to residential customers;

    (D) the amount of money disbursed by the REP or provided to each assistance agency to disburse funds to residential customers; and

    (E) the number of customers who had a switch-hold applied during the year.

  (3) A statement confirming whether the REP, at the time of filing its annual report, has obtained the low-income customer identification service from the Low Income List Administrator (LILA) in accordance with §25.45 of this title, and whether the REP, at the time of filing its annual report, intends to obtain the low-income identification service from the LILA in the next fiscal year.


Source Note: The provisions of this §25.480 adopted to be effective January 15, 2001, 26 TexReg 125; amended to be effective Spetember 12, 2002, 27 TexReg 8428; amended to be effective June 1, 2004, 29 TexReg 4756; amended to be effective March 8, 2007, 32 TexReg 1286; amended to be effective June 1, 2011, 35 TexReg 9232; amended to be effective January 9, 2014, 39 TexReg 212; amended to be effective May 13, 2018, 43 TexReg 3001

Previous 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